Showing Appreciation: A Win for Managers, Employees, and Companies

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Years ago when Facebook caught on with middle-aged people like myself, it became clear to me that people deeply wanted to express their stories, feel seen, and be heard. I think that is true for employees in the workplace as well. Do I want to be paid a fair salary? Yes. Do I want to feel like my manager really sees what I provide to the company, appreciates it, and trusts me just as much? Yes.

I manage a small team. Or as a friend once said, “I look after them.” I always liked that phrasing because that is exactly true. I do look after them. Below are the top 10 ways I try to make my team feel appreciated:

  • Make yourself available: If a team member asks to speak with me outside of our regularly scheduled catch up, I drop what I’m doing to make time for them. To me, nothing is more important than letting each member know that they are important to me and the company.
  • Coach them on the areas they can improve upon: I let my team know that theirsuccess is my success and a success for the company. I am there to help each team member achieve their goals and get better. Be specific, keep it to the facts, and be fair.
  • Have their backs: A former co-worker once told me that she always boosted up her team to the president in meetings and then later went back and communicated to her team what needed to be corrected. I have never forgotten that. I take responsibility for any shortcomings and begin coaching my team up.
  • Take a personal interest in their lives: I have tried to get to know each person that reports to me as a person. I once listened in on webinar where the speaker said that if employees like their managers, there is nothing that they won’t do for them, and I believe that. They know that I’m not asking anything of them that I wouldn’t do myself. We are all in this together.
  • Treats! As a former teacher, I love celebrating holidays and special occasions. My team gets flowers, candy, extra time away from the office, homemade sweets, a personal note, etc. It costs me very little time or money and I think it makes them feel special, and in turn, that makes me proud.
  • Be flexible with time: I try to accommodate their requests for time off. We are a small team but if they need to leave early, take lunch at an unusual time, or go to a dentist appointment that they remembered at the last minute, I try to make it happen. No one likes to ask their manager if they can do something outside of the norm. If you always do your best to accommodate, on the off times when you can’t, they will know that you’ve done what you can.
  • Listen: Sometimes employees just need to vent, blow of some steam, cry, or have a meltdown to get their emotions out. Sometimes you just have to listen.
  • Ask them what they need from you and ask for their ideas: What do they need from me to be successful? Do I need to run interference on something, move a task to someone else’s plate temporarily, or be a sounding board? Not everyone feels comfortable giving their opinions freely, so I make a point to see if someone from my team has a fresh set of eyes on something or a new perspective.
  • Let them manage a project that they enjoy: Our social media campaigns are important, but they were never something that I enjoyed doing on a daily basis. It was more of an after-thought for me after getting everything else on my plate finished. My millennial team member really enjoys creating content and making our postings look nice so I moved that over to her. Win, win.
  • Trust them: Assign a project, check in with them on their core responsibilities, be a sounding board, but in the end, let your direct reports know that you trust them to get the job done.

There’s a saying that employees don’t leave companies–they leave managers. It is 100% easier keeping a good employee happy than searching to refill a position, identifying the new employee, and training them to get them up to speed. It just is. I firmly believe that if you pay employees a fair salary, see, hear, and trust them, that you will have the beginnings of a satisfied and engaged team of professionals.

Writte by: Karen Truesdale

Karen is celebrating her 13th anniversary with Godshall Professional Recruiting and Staffing this week.  Away from the office, she enjoys spending time with her pets and her husband Matthew who is her LinkedIn editor.

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Managing Millennials & Moving On

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We’re inundated on a daily basis with content on millennials – a pervasive, complex, and reviled group of workers. So, I’ve been brainstorming about a key takeaway and what I could possibly say at this point that’s novel. I landed on a simple call to action: move on.

Here’s the deal: with the oldest millennials being about 36 years old, we finally have some definitive research on their workplace behaviors and can compare them to previous generations. Here’s the summary: there is little to no difference in levels of narcissism, job tenure, or work ethic amongst millennials and previous generations in their twenties. It turns out, all youth is narcissistic, indecisive, and distracted.

Okay, okay. You need evidence. After all, I’m a millennial – why trust me?

Most of the studies you see compare millennials to the current feelings and behaviors of Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers. A study cited in Business Insider just this week provides a perfect example. “Daymon Worldwide notes that millennials are more obsessed with being unique and standing out than their parents and grandparents are.” (http://www.businessinsider.com/differences-between-boomers-gen-x-and-millennials-2016-6) I hope they didn’t spend a lot of money on that research because if I compare any 25 year old and their 75 year old Nana, I would certainly hope their level of maturity and narcissism differed.

In regards to the job-hopping, Baby Boomer’s actually changed jobs in their twenties at the same rate that millennials do now (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/nlsoy.pdf)! Let me demystify this: young people usually take whatever job they can get starting off. They don’t know what they want to do long-term and millennials came of age during a recession where if you didn’t take whatever job you could get, you were perpetually unemployed. (Unemployed = no brunch. Millennials love brunch).

Lastly, millennials work differently but they are not aggregately lazy. Lazy is a really loaded word and I don’t have the space to enumerate the dangers of characterizing an entire group as something derogatory, so use your own intuition here. Every time you’re tempted to say “lazy”, replace it with “different.” Because the truth is millennials are very different from previous generations in their beliefs about work. We don’t always subscribe to traditional hours. We value work-life balance and sometimes prioritize it over a demanding career. We want to understand the why’s behind what we’re doing because we need purpose. Are these good qualities? Bad? Admirable? I don’t know exactly, but aren’t all those statements what people tell us to prioritize after it’s too late for them to change? Spend more time with your family. Do something you love. Work hard, but set boundaries.

On the upside, you’ll also find that we answer late-night emails. Because we grew up with technology, we constantly look for ways to be more efficient. When we find our passion, we’ll work however many hours it takes. The key for employers is to harness that passion and not let vintage expectations drive away a talented workforce.

So, that’s it. There’s your answer. Young people are needy and kind of difficult to work with and they always will be. Maybe in a few years I’ll be blogging on the pains of Gen Zer’s. Que sera, tale as old as time. Let’s stop dwelling it on it now.

Written by: Hannah Barfield Spellmeyer

Degree or No Degree? That is the Question!

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When you graduate from high school, you encounter the proverbial fork in the road.  Go to college and pursue an advanced degree or move straight into the work force?  For those who choose to go to college, your chosen field of study can say a tremendous amount about who you are and your outlook on life.  For myself personally, I am a firm believer that any degree field should have an ROI (that’s return on investment for those of you not in business!).  Let’s face it, college is extremely expensive these days. It places a large financial burden on both you and your parents.  I highly doubt any parents want to spend $70-$80K for a college education and have their child study Western Civilization only to move back home and work in a coffee shop (although I hear Starbucks has great benefits!).  I’m not saying everyone has to be a doctor or lawyer, I’m merely saying that your field of study should at least mirror your life’s aspirations.  Because of my business background (thank you USC-Upstate), I have a hard time investing money into something that doesn’t pay a dividend, much less pay for itself at least.

There are non-traditional degrees as well.  These typically include associate’s degrees along with specialized certifications.  As a Technical and Engineering Recruiter, I routinely encounter candidates from both the traditional bachelor’s degree path as well as the more non-traditional associate’s degree path.  Obviously the traditional degree holders are your engineering and management candidates.  Those with associate degrees are typically CNC/CMM programmers, mechanical drafters, and designers.  These are all highly specialized and sophisticated career fields.  I’m not here to say that one path is better than the other, but I have always been impressed with the degree of knowledge/expertise that comes from some of our technical/vocational schools in the area.  These candidates typically are currently working while going to school in the evening and possess a very strong work ethic.  These people are taken very seriously and are admired by hiring managers.  The same rings true with engineering candidates.  Several universities across the Southeastern U.S. yield some of the very best engineering talent in the country, if not the world.

What does this say about people in the work force who do not hold a degree?  From an early age, most of us were taught that you have to have a college degree to enjoy success and financial gains, yet many people continue to grow and thrive in the U.S. workforce without a degree.  According to an article in Forbes, 68% of Americans 25 or older do not have a bachelor’s degree.  Some of these include very powerful business leaders such as Sir Richard Branson, Walt Disney, Mary Kay Ash, Michael Dell, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Rachael Ray, and Steve Jobs – just to name a few.  So why is it that these individuals were able to thrive without any form of advanced degree?  It can be argued that these people all started their own businesses and didn’t need degrees since they were entrepreneurs.  Qualities they all possess include innovation, drive, and creativity to make their individual businesses successful.  As someone that works with numerous companies across several industries, I’m starting to notice a trend.  While companies publicly require a college degree, I believe that they secretly desire experience instead.  Having both seals the deal!

 

Written by: Chad Hardin, Technical Recruiter     

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is always a time to look back on our lives and be thankful for all that has been provided to us. We’re thankful for the memories we’ve created with the families and friends we have. We’re thankful for the delicious food we will never be able to eat enough of. We’re thankful for the traditions that may or may not have been created on purpose! Here are some of the memories and traditions our staff is most thankful for!

I have numerous memories and traditions for Thanksgiving. One of the biggest traditions my mom and I  have is waking up around 5:00am every morning on Black Friday to get the best deals. Most people hate it, but we find it insanely fun trying to save every penny we can! We love a bargain! But my favorite part of any holiday is the fellowship I get to be a part of. Even though my family is rather small compared to most, I love spending time with them. It’s something you can’t take for granted because tomorrow is never guaranteed. – Shawn Kinard

One of our traditions is we celebrate “Thanksmas” the Saturday after Thanksgiving in West Virginia with my husband’s family and extended family of Aunts, Uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. It is the day we “kick off” Christmas with a white elephant gift exchange, delicious food, great football, and an enjoyable time with family that we only see annually on “Thanksmas!”- Cathy Boggs

My favorite memory for Thanksgiving was 18 years ago. It was the first thanksgiving that I was married. We invited lots of family over for dinner. My husband put the turkey on the smoker. Little did I know, the neck and giblets had to be discarded first.index He overheard me on the phone asking a relative where I would find them!!! The look on my husband’s face was priceless. I am thankful he can still put up with me 18 thanksgivings later. Now, I enjoy every second of making a flawless family Thanksgiving dinner.  – Catherine Culler

My favorite part about Thanksgiving is the time with my family; we do eat a great deal but we try to relax, take walks and take time to reflect on how blessed we are. If I had to go with a food favorite, my grandmother’s stuffing would win for my Thanksgiving side dish! Even though my grandmother joins us for the meal, my mom makes the stuffing now. It is different from your typical stuffing; it is heavier like a dressing but still has that yummy cornbread taste! – Rebecca Faulk

Some of our favorite things about Thanksgiving are:

  • Spending time with family
  • Watching the parade
  • Football games on TV and in the backyard with our now teenage boys
  • Preparing the meal is as much fun as eating it
  • The Clemson v. Carolina game! It is always a fun way to kick of Thanksgiving weekend!
  • Putting up the Christmas tree!                                     – Julie Brown

I am thankful for my mother.  She is the youngest of 10 kids and has been cooking full meals since she was 10 years old.  Every year she makes a flawless Thanksgiving meal that is on the table at 12:00pm sharp.  It’s only when you get older that you realize all the time that it takes to prepare a huge feast and how expensive it is! Turkey and all the trimmings is not cheap. 🙂 I’m 42 and I’ve never had to cook for Thanksgiving.  My mom likes to do it all.  Now that I’m married and have to spend the holidays with two sets of families, I appreciate my mother’s food even more. She just makes everything yummy!  Here’s one of my favorites that my husband specifically asked for this year:

Baked Corn

-2 cups of corn
-2 eggs well beaten
-2 cups of grated Monterrey Jack cheese
-1.5 cups of sour cream
-½ cup soft bread crumbs
-1 (4.5 oz.) can of chopped green chiles
-½ tsp salt
-¼ tsp pepper
-½ cup grated cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients except the cheddar cheese.  Pour into a 2 quart baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  Top with cheddar cheese.  Bake 5 minutes more.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. It’s delicious! – Karen Truesdale

As I was growing up and right up to about 5 years ago, my family would travel to Huntersville, NC to my Great Grandparent’s farm.  My grandfather’s brother and sister lived there and still own about 30 acres.  My grandfather would perform the prayer and it was always remarkable and well received by all in attendance.  After the meal, we’d all go out to the pasture and shoot skeet or feed the cows (sometimes, they did not have cows).  My cousins and I would always find new things to discover in old shops and barns scattered around the property.  If the weather did not cooperate, we could always sit around and listen to my grandfather talk about farm life back during the Great Depression or my uncle’s war time experiences during World War II.  Many memories have been etched into my family there in Huntersville!  Today, we celebrate Thanksgiving on Lake Hartwell with Julie’s family and my mom as we await the annual Clemson vs. USC game! – Drew Brown

What are some of your favorite traditions or memories from Thanksgiving?