Leave a comment

Healthy employee= Healthy dividends for all concerned

President Obama has accomplished something he’s wanted for a long time. Universal healthcare for US citizens. Of course there are 2 sides to every story and just like other social systems, an increase or inundation of sick people means long lines, longer wait times and wait lists. But, one way employers can contribute to cracking down on this is incorporating wellness programs into their organizations.
When people are at work instead of the doctor. When people are given incentives to stop smoking, lose weight, and take better care of themselves, it’s a win-win for the employers, employees and their families. It also cuts down on long term illnesses and disease. Can you say cancer and diabetes decreases and prevention?
Consider this HR professionals…a wellness program can and will give any organization a competitive edge because driving down medical and health costs along with absenteeism will provide a very distinct advantage over competitors in employee productivity and job satisfaction. Organizations that effectively recruit, select, train and compensate their employees develop an advantage that is hard for other organizations to copy and this advantage is maximized when the organization has a clear competitive strategy that matches their human resource strategy. IBM and other large corporate entities are finally getting it and getting their workforce in tip top shape while increasing productivity and their financial bottom line.

If your organization doesn’t have one, consider starting something on your own. You may make new friends, new network connections and a new wardrobe when you lose all that weight. Pretty heavy huh?

Leave a comment

Turning the tide in employment.. Independent Contracting 1099 Style

An organization’s effectiveness relating to its processes and people has always been a human resource management concern in a macro environment and with the growing diversity in employment populations many organizations are realizing there is a need to go beyond basic functional HR management and examine strategic concepts in a quantifiable way to maximize operability. Typically most organizations use a combination of competitive business with human resource strategies which can be applied universally which is commonly generic and benefits everyone. However, with the growing demand of doing more with less becoming the standard, newly developed HRM practices that benefit overall business success along with its workers are at the forefront. This concept is so vast, even the federal government, one of the largest employers in the world took notice and in 1999, an executive mandate in the form of a strategic analysis plan was adopted. An executive summary from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) deemed it appropriate to integrate human resource management (HRM) into the comprehensive agency planning process (U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Strategic Human Resource Management, Standard of Operations, 1999), underlining a need to connect human resource functions and people management into a more collaborative, streamlined and unified process to better address internal competencies, organizational performance and personnel vulnerabilities in an more modern and innovative way. A good example of how agencies are attempting to apply current HRM research is the growing number of independent consultants or 1099 workers some firms are now hiring. When an organization realizes that they may not have an expert they can leverage within their employee pool, they may hire a specialized consultant in a specific area of expertise. As a recruiter I have seen an increase in such consultative practices which I believe are directly correlated to the advantages of applying strategic HRM research to formulate sound business practices versus fundamental HRM practices because nothing is one size fits all anymore.

What does all this mean? If you are having a difficult time obtaining and retaining employment, dig into your vocation, get current and get cracking on the Independent Contractor (IC) 1099 train. If may not come with benefits (benies) and taxation is on you when dealing with the IRS, but you can earn more money without taxes (temporarily). That’s right you get the whole per hour amount or (per whatever the agreement is). But I HIGHLY recommend socking away 10-20% of what you earn to pay your self-employment taxes on time and without delay to Uncle Sam. This is a viable option until such time as permanent employment with benies comes your way. Good luck!

Leave a comment

Thanks for adding some gumption to the recipe for success

Someone recently asked me what one of my greatest challenges has been as a female business owner who has served in a very male dominated field; Program Management within in the federal sector. I feel very fortunate because I had a very strong male mentor when I first began my career in program management who was selfless and enjoyed contributing to my growth in business. He was truly a different breed because over the years, I have found that the more success I’ve had in my career, many men were either intimidated or mistrustful because they seemed to believe that I would either use my feminine wiles or use the “hey, I’m a girl” card. None of them seemed even slightly beleaguered that I just might “out shine” them somehow, but when they realized I was a considerable force to be reckoned with and should be taken seriously, they began to speak in hushed tones and hoard valuable information. A few of the fellas that didn’t even like each other began building alliances, joining forces and behaving rudely in the hopes I would just go away or cry about it. A few of my peers seemingly took the high road and offered mentorship, while in reality, they seldom helped me with anything and may have even enjoyed seeing me struggle in any capacity. So to those of you who know of whom I speak, “Thank You!”
Because of your shortcomings, I dug in and fortified myself and learned to work smarter, not harder. Because of your bullying, I strengthened my core and relied on my self sufficiency to rise in my field. Because of your attempts at stonewalling and hoarding tactics, I learned to trust in my abilities and instinct. But more than anything you taught me the most valuable rule…I learned how to play the business game by the “boys” rules. You have helped me immensely and greatly attributed to my professional success because what you thought would hinder my career, has cultivated my business acumen. I have gained a solid business reputation and become a pretty tough cookie too and I use that to help other women with encouragement and sound guidance. Well Alfafa, Spanky??? Thanks for inventing the “He Man Woman Haters Club” How do you like those apples?!

Leave a comment

What not to wear

I encourage my female clients to be true their personal style, but to bear in mind that conservative business attire is still best.  Wearing tasteful items that emphasize their femininity is fine, such as skirts and slightly higher heels is also okay, but I believe in moderation, less is more, whether in make-up, jewelry or showing female curves. When I began my career in program management some years ago, I wore my favorite color to work, red. Well, I strolled in feeling great in my all red ensemble (to include the red shoes). My boss and mentor at the time (a man) pulled me to the side and quietly reminded me of the importance of subtly and told me to take the rest of the day off to break in my corporate expense card and invest in a more basic wardrobe. He went on to say black, brown, gray and navy blue work best and I can add a simple colorful touch that would allow me to stand out without looking droll. He was right and now I encourage my female clients to add an accent like a scarf or a brooch or a beautiful but delicate hairpin. It can make your outfit memorable and possibly become a conversation starter. As a woman in business you want to be taken seriously and have your clients and colleagues think well of you and not feel uncomfortable around you because everything is too tight or short or clingy. After all, it is work, so a skirt suit is fine as long as the jacket is well positioned on the lower torso for wider hips or larger bottoms. Let’s be honest if you are remotely attractive, it doesn’t matter what you wear to the office because someone will always have a snide comment regardless of your ability, but the key in dressing for success is to feel comfortable in your clothes while making others pay attention to your capabilities, not your cup size.

Leave a comment

Attitude adjustment or Career change

Part of the reason many people are unhappy and share that unhappiness at work is because they forget…IT”S WORK!!! However, if people find themselves job jumping then that would be a definitive mark of possibly being in the wrong field or not targeting a more satisfying position within that field. One of the ways to know if this is the case is to ask yourself. In an ideal situation if I could do (blank) in this field and not get paid, would I still do it? That’s a good place to start analyzing job satisfaction. If there is no such position, but there is a need, it may be time to put together on paper, a duty description that could be discussed with superiors.
Now let me first define a job versus career.
A job is something that pays the bills and most times may be filled with dread because of the monotony, lack of benefits, lack of promotion potential and is needed, but not necessarily favorable. A career is something that you will do long-term; you are interested in promotion potential, you invest time, education and additional effort into for the long term benefit and reward. And although a job may be a necessity, a career is typically chosen.
Back to the heart of the matter. Now, that the two have been defined, how do you know if it’s time to adjust your attitude or make a career change? If you are surrounded by office dysfunction that clearly distracts, destroys and deters your performance, it may be time to jump ship. If you find that you are caught up in office antics and politics more often than performing the duties you are paid to perform, you may need an attitude adjustment. You need to remember what it felt like when you applied and hoped to get the job, adjust your priorities and remember the employment climate we are facing as a nation. Adjusting your attitude to better performance and a grateful spirit can lead to the best reward of all, a new outlook on your career.
Whichever scenario applies to you, remember that whether it’s a career adjustment or an attitude adjustment, both are up to you. Happy hunting.

Leave a comment

The Reverse Interview

I find that in their haste to find and obtain jobs, many candidates are not very adept in securing the much needed great first impression with employers because of one main issue. They rarely show the interviewer their interest in the organization to which they are applying by having good follow on questions for the interviewer when asked the dreaded question, “do you have any questions for me?”
When asked by an employer if you have questions for them, you need to demonstrate that you have done your homework. Based on your knowledge of the organization (and yes you should be doing your homework for ANY job you go after), you should have formed questions that 1.) illustrate your working knowledge of the duties 2.) illustrate your knowledge of the organization and; 3) illustrate your desire to know things relevant to you for the most comfortable work or career experience. Once you jump into the job, you cannot be bitter because you failed to ask questions that may matter in the long run.
The reverse interview questions (your turn) should consist of those questions of importance to you. For instance, if you want to continue your education you should ask about education or training programs they may offer or if they pick up any education costs on behalf of the employee. One of the best pieces of advice I provide to my clients during interview consultations is to ask things of interest to them such as tele-work options (if you don’t want to drive 80 miles one way 5 days a week, this might be important to you). Maybe you want to know what the typical promotion track is so inquire if they have they set anything in place to ensure that if you follow a desired work ethic and display initiative that there may be a reward in it for you, (unless of course you don’t mind staying in the same position for 10 years). Do they offer mentor programs or peer to peer programs, (it’s important if you aren’t sure how to achieve the upward mobility or promotion track and need guidance from someone who can help). Why the position is open (be careful because if this position has been open repeatedly or continuously, there may be a reason e.g. horrible boss, gossipy co-workers, or overall poor working relationships, so potential employee beware). What about asking to whom do you report directly? This is important because if you established a great rapport with the interviewer and can’t wait to work with them you may be disappointed if you report in and end up with a bad boss, (too late now).
Quite often employees forget that an interview is a two-way street and you need to know if you will fit into their culture and if they will fit into your future. Happy hunting.

Leave a comment

The Military Spouse Challenge

As a military spouse putting others first is the norm and an expectation as the military member is busy with readiness, operational challenges and national security. Often we find ourselves so preoccupied as the person in uniform with continuity, consistency and support that we leave our goals and dreams on the side of the road, but there are many military spouses that acclimate to those challenges and still find a way to grow personally and professionally while providing the support, encouragement and assistance to keep the family flourishing.
I’ve always been a people person. I’m an extrovert by nature and am at my best and brightest when I can extend a helping hand to others. The problem for me was with all the moving and change, I was often flummoxed at the idea of finding that perfect career fit for myself that would be both portable and satisfying. After trying on varying “jobs” I began looking for a career that encompassed my passion for people and can be easily transferable all around the world. I’d taken a few sporadic classes and eventually found my way completing my undergraduate business degree between transfers, promotions, deployments, and even the teenage years…whew! Finally after stabilizing a position in the federal government, I found my niche and my excitement for my career in human resources. I was able to use the things I learned and take the reins of my career choices by learning all I could in each position I’ve held and to my advantage I’ve been able to successfully market myself as a subject matter expert in multiple arenas.
As a federal Program Manager I’ve been responsible for the recruiting of personnel who provide service member support including soldier programs and services. I’ve been able to assist federal employees being transferred or separated by the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). I’ve been honored by serving others including soldiers, their spouses and federal employees who support our troops by assisting in job placement, career development, skill enhancement, employment transition and employment proficiency and many times I have provided these services pro bono. But, I’ve taken it a notch further, I am very proud to the be the owner of an HR firm in Northern Virginia continuing to provide support to my extended family, the military community; a community that is as much a part of my life as the as the soldier I married. My identity is closely woven into the fabric of the selfless service of men and women who sacrifice more than any person can give and it is the reason I feel a sincere desire to do my part. The best part? I’ve been able to take my experiences, distant locations and my military family along as I created a career path that I love. Now, the next challenge?… preparing my spouse for the journey of transitioning from choosing his daily green suit, the military uniform, to selecting matching apparel that doesn’t make me gasp in horror. Wish me luck!