Tag Archives: need

You don’t need an excuse for being late to work

 

 

                                 Late to work

        

It's 8 a.m., the thick of rush hour traffic in South Florida, and my friend is swearing while she's talking to me on her speaker phone. She tells me that traffic is particularly bad, she's late to work and that her boss is going to be upset with her. Then, she proceeds to complain about how she was up until midnight trying to finish a project for a demanding client. 

Why would your boss care what time you arrive when you're were up until midnight? I asked her. 

He is just like that, she said.

The conversation got me thinking about the new rules of the workplace and the questions they raise. For example, since just about everyone is answering work emails and calls after hours, should bosses look the other way when salaried employees are running late? Is the whole concept of punctuality outdated?

Being chronically late is different. To me, it requires a conversation between employee and boss about expectations.

But if work hours are extending well past the traditional work day, then there should be some leeway on occasion in start time. (That's what flexibility is all about!) Rather than giving an excuse on the days when you are running late, I find it more productive for the employee to just sit down and get to work.

CareerBuilder released its list of the top bizarre excuses employees give for coming in late.  It conducted the survey alongside Harris Polls from Nov. 4 to Dec. 1, 2015, with more than 2,500 hiring and human said they were late for work at least once a month, while 13 percent fessed up that they are tardy once a week.

Traffic remains the top reason people give for lateness. (We can all relate to that!) But workers still give all kinds of crazy excuses to their bosses including this one: "I thought of quitting today, but then decided not to, so I came in late."

CareerBuilder went on to report that about two-thirds of employees and employers consider the 9-to-5 grind to be antiquated. And yet,  51 percent of employers expect employees to arrive on time. So, bosses expect employees to arrive on time, but they also expect them to stay late. Does that about sum up your workplace?

On a positive note, a third of employers said occasional lateness is not an issue, while 16 percent said they don't consider punctuality to be essential as long as their employees get their work done. To me, that's the key "as long as employees get their work done." Treating workers as professionals who can manage their time and workload goes a long way. As an employee, I would stay late and worker harder for a boss that didn't nit pick my arrival time.

What are your thoughts? Do you think hard-working professionals need to offer up an excuse for being late to work?

The Work/Life Balancing Act

Too connected? Why you need vacation rules

                         Vacation

Earlier this week, I left a message on an accountant's voicemail asking him to call me about an article I am working on. He called me back within a few hours. Well into our conversation, he mentioned he was on vacation. It was at that point that I could hear his wife in the background and she was noticeably agitated. I suggested he call me back when he returned from vacation. When we hung up, I had a feeling he was in big trouble.

Staying connected to work may make traveling less stressful for you, but it can become annoying to people who are with you on vacation. One of my friends recently told me it was while on vacation that she realized her marriage had hit rock bottom. She couldn't get her husband off his phone long enough to do anything romantic.

My suggestion for anyone traveling with a friend, spouse, or partner is to set vacation rules. My husband and I realized years ago setting rules was key to a better vacation. I agree to let my husband check in with his office every morning. He spends about an hour on his laptop checking email and returning calls. I usually check my email less often while on vacation but I tend to do it in the late afternoons when everyone is unwinding before dinner. We each get about an hour a day without guilt. The rule also is that we leave our phones behind when we do a family activity.

Today it has become increasingly easy to integrate work and travel — regardless of where you are vacationing. There are more hotels and cafes that offer Wi-Fi, and more mobile devices with the same functionality as desktop PCs. But that ease of connection makes being on the same page of your travel companion more important than ever. 

When the goal of a vacation is to reconnect with friends or family, it can be frustrating when your travel partner sends a different message. Your stressful interaction with work can affect those who are traveling with you. My neighbor says while on his vacation, it completely unnerved him to watch his wife's reaction to an incoming work-related email as she lounged by the pool. "We're supposed to be on vacation relaxing, and I can see that something at the office didn't go her way. It not only stresses her out, it stressed me out, too."

Companions who are with someone who resists disconnecting say they find themselves torn between bringing their vacation partner in the present and coming across as a nag. Most of us only have a week a year when we can spend solid uninterrupted time with our spouse or kids. Don't they deserve to experience us enjoying time with them?

The solution may be agreeing upfront on how, when and where work check-ins will fit into a vacation schedule. Logging on and sending emails before others awake or during rest periods in the hotel room may be palatable. Missing a mid-day, zip-line excursion or interrupting pool time to make a work call may not be okay. Setting vacation rules may require respect for your companion’s work demands and it may take compromise.

Some business owners and professionals say checking in briefly allows them to relax more. It prevents them from a stressful return to work. That's understandable. But remember, the goal is to use your vacation to come back to the office and your home life happier than before you left. If setting vacation rules ahead of time is what it takes to make that happen, why not give it try?

 

The Work/Life Balancing Act

How much is your time worth? Why you need to outsource

My cleaning lady is at my house today. If I didn't have her, I would spend several days cleaning and not writing. I would be miserable and I'd have less money in the bank. By doing the math, I figured out I come out ahead spending my time writing rather than cleaning. 

Outsourcing is all about doing the math. What are your spending time doing — maybe even not doing well — that you could farm out and come out ahead? I've discovered that busy working parents need to outsource something if they want work life balance. Do you agree?

Here's my Miami Herald article on outsourcing…

How much is your time worth? Consider outsourcing some tasks

 

BY CINDY KRISCHER GOODMAN

TODD

(ABOVE: Todd Paton of Paton Marketing)

Todd Paton has a booming Miami business getting customers noticed on the Web. One tool he uses is generating online press releases to build brand awareness and create links that will send traffic to a customer’s website. But Paton, owner of Paton Internet Marketing, acknowledges that writing the releases is not his strong suit. Rather than spend his time doing it, he hires out the task.

 “You have to value your time so you know what is or is not a good use of it,” Paton says.

As a proliferation of outsourcing sites spread, today’s business owners have more options for hiring out tasks that detract from generating income and having a balanced life. For some small firms, outsourcing has had a compelling impact on their growth, productivity and bottom lines.

An important first step in outsourcing is figuring out what doesn’t make sense for you to do personally. Paton suggests dividing your income by the hours worked and coming up with an estimate of your time value. Then, factor in the time it would take you to become an expert at a specific function and complete it. “Often you find you are spending time on something you could have done by an expert for a lot less than your time is worth,” he says.

How much you can you expect to pay a contractor depends on the type of work you’re buying, the skill level and location of your provider, and your own preferences. For example, Paton goes to eLance to find U.S.-based freelancers, and pays about $ 30 a press release. Rather than spend half a day on the task, hiring it out is worth the expense.

Elance and oDesk (which merged in 2013) are two of the most popular marketplaces for employers to connect with talent on an as-needed basis. They are joined by an ongoing rollout of sites that give business owners access to a global pool of human capital such as virtual executive assistants, marketing directors, graphic designers, transcriptionists, paralegals, Web designers, human resources consultants, bookkeepers, public relations directors and information technology specialists.

Lesley Pyle founded HireMyMom.com seven years ago to allow owners in need of outside expertise to tap mom professionals. She finds small-business owners increasingly coming to her site to hire skilled, work-at-home moms to build or design websites, create social media followings and manage email marketing campaigns. For many entrepreneurs, the new demands of technology are the most natural tasks to outsource, Pyle finds.

“There are constantly new and better ways to do things online. Unless you enjoy that or have time for that, it’s an easy one to put on your delegation list,” Pyle says.

Mande White-Pearl, a South Florida marketing strategist for female entrepreneurs, says that even when a business owner outsources, she needs to understand the specific outcome she wants from whomever she hires. White says she has used more than 20 virtual workers to complete tasks like data entry, graphic design or project management while she concentrates on bringing in business and spending time with her new husband.

The first year she began using contractors to help carry her workload, White-Pearl says, she doubled her company's revenue.

White locates her freelancers on oDesk and has paid $ 5 to $ 50 an hour, depending on the task. She typically gives out small projects to new hires, testing them before doling out ongoing needs. “Over time, I have gotten much better about being clear on what exactly it is I need people to do. If I have had a bad experience, it has been because I had not properly communicated what I needed, wanted or expected.

To ensure quality from freelancers, sites such as Elance, oDesk and Freelancer.com allow the hiring party to see how previous clients rated prospective vendors’ work, as well as detailed profiles of the vendors and what they charge. There is no charge for freelancers to post profiles on the sites and to apply to jobs.

The sites make money by charging the employer a fee that equals a share of the total amount they paid the freelancer. Expect to pay U.S.-based contractors higher fees, but remember, with offshore providers there may be a language barrier. Fees are paid per hour or per project.

For more-creative tasks, business owners are finding talent on Fivver.com, which introduced a mobile app in December. While the site is now far from the original everything-for-$ 5 concept, the costs of specific jobs are straightforward. White-Pearl says she has used Fiverr to find individuals to do video editing, logo design, animation and proofreading, and she has spent from $ 5 to $ 40 to get the job done.

With the increase in demand, a variety of models for online hiring are gaining popularity. Sites like OnForce and FieldNation have created networks of independent workers in the same specialty who can be hired per gig and dispatched to a job site as opposed to working remotely. In Spring 2013, OnForce introduced a mobile app to help pair the buyer with the freelancer who might already be out on a job nearby.

Kevin Michael, managing partner of Invizio in Coral Gables, runs a business that provides IT support to local companies. However, Michael says he recently became a vendor on OnForce, a network of independent IT professionals looking for gigs in their area. “We see it as a way to get our foot in the door.”

While on OnForce he’s the independent contractor, Michael says that as a business owner, he, too, has at times been the outsourcer. He has used hiring sites to tap professionals to create logo designs or marketing materials. “If you are a small business and trying to grow, adding headcount isn’t what you want,” he says. “It is much better to find someone with expertise who is affordable. Now you have more time in your day, and you’re still getting what you need done.”

 

 

Kevinvmichael_datacenter_shot

(Above: Kevin Michael, managing partner of Invizio, IT Support)

The Work/Life Balancing Act

Need more balance? It may be time to hire a career coach

Have you ever felt stuck with your career? 

I've heard a lot about career coaches but I wasn't really sure exactly what they could do for me. I felt that maybe career coaches were for top executives who want to become better leaders. But I found out a career coach can be a HUGE help to almost anyone at any level. 

My Miami Herald column today answers these questions — When is the right time to hire a career coach and how can hiring one improve your work life balance?

Read on…

Feeling stuck in your job? It may be time to hire a career coach

 

Executive Coach Monique Betty, owner of Boca Raton-based CareerSYNC, coaching the staff of the Women’s Business Development Council of Florida

 

BY CINDY KRISCHER GOODMAN

If you’re putting in the hours and still not seeing the rewards, feeling undervalued or simply striving to be more successful, it may be time to hire a career coach.

When New York Times Editor Jill Abramson was fired last month, she had begun the process of working with a career consultant to work through some of the “management style” and “temperament” concerns that allegedly did her in. Like Abramson, most of excel in our jobs because of our technical expertise in our fields, but often, it is the “people” skills, such as managing and motivating staff, that trip us up.

A career coach can help you figure out behavior changes to help you advance, strategies for a new direction, or an action plan to close the gap between where you are now and where you want to be.

“Think of a career coach as an objective person to talk to who doesn’t have a vested interest in anything but your success and satisfaction,” said Teressa Moore Griffin, an executive coach and founder of Spirit of Purpose.

One Miami executive hired a coach when her nonprofit women’s organization needed new direction.

At the time, Nancy Allen, president/CEO of the Women’s Business Development Council of Florida, was facing the high levels of stress common when nonprofits face board transitions and pressure to raise funds. Allen said that while working with a coach weekly for seven months, she defined steps to bring in new sources of revenue and new programming. Her coach also helped her scrutinize where to focus her time.

“I came out of it with clarity of purpose,” Allen said. “Most executives know what to do, but professional coaching helps them move beyond the minutia to set a plan of action, stay focused and accomplish defined tasks.” Now, Allen has brought her coach to work with her staff individually to develop their strengths: “I think it will lead to a happier, more productive staff.”

As the job market opens, more people, particularly younger workers, are turning to career coaches. In a survey of 12,000 professional coaches by the International Coach Federation, 60 percent of respondents reported an increase in the number of clients over the previous 12 months and more than 75 percent said they anticipated increases in clients and revenue over the next 12 months.

Coaching, once perceived as a luxury available only to senior executives, is increasingly appealing to younger generations, according to the International Coach Federation’s 2014 Global Consumer Awareness Study. Of the 18,800 workers surveyed, 35 percent of those between 25 and 34 years old said they already had participated in a coaching relationship.

Employers, spending once again on leadership development, are hiring coaches for managers, vice presidents and high-level executives who have hit an obstacle in their career progressions or face new challenges. Griffin said that like coaches who work with athletes, she encourages corporate leaders to see how a small change in behavior affects performance: “Often, the person thinks the organization is the problem. I have to get them to see that if they want the team or boss or customer to behave differently, change starts with them.”

Hiring a career coach is different from hiring most other professionals, and can be costly. Expect to pay $ 100 to $ 350 for a one-hour session, according to the International Coach Federation. Most professionals work with their coaches for six months to a year.

There is no official licensing agency for career coaches, which has led to a wide range of quality among those claiming to be experts. However, the International Coach Federation has built a worldwide network of more than 12,000 credentialed coaches with a minimum level of training and certification. When selecting, Miami career coach Marlene Green advises asking for recommendations, checking references and asking questions “just as you would when hiring an attorney.”

To be clear, a coach differs from a business consultant. Where a consultant identifies a business problem and gives a solution, a coach asks questions and encourages the client to find answers.

“You have to ask yourself, ‘Do I have financial resources and time resources to get coached and am I in a place where I’m ready to have self-introspection?’ ” said Alexa Sherr Hartley, president of South Florida’s Premier Leadership Coaching. “You’re paying for a coach to help you figure it out, not to figure it out for you.”

After she was twice passed over for a management position at her company, Jenna Altman decided it was time to hire a career coach. “I felt like I was doing everything right and I needed to figure out why I wasn’t being promoted,” she said. Altman says her coach asked her questions that made her think differently about her strengths and weaknesses and how she adds value to her company.

She ended up asking for, and getting, a completely different position that she had never previously considered.

“When you have tried all the tools in your toolkit and you can’t move from your current state to your desired one, that is the help a coach provides,” Sherr explained. Research by the Carnegie Institute of Technology shows that 85 percent of business success comes from personality — the ability to communicate, negotiate and lead.

Shockingly, only 15 percent is attributed to technical knowledge. But Sherr says that with coaching, those soft skills can be learned and practiced at work and home: “That’s why investing in coaching makes sense.”

 

 

 

The Work/Life Balancing Act

Why you need to make time to tweet

If you're not making the time for social media…here's why you should be.

 

 

Tweet success: Small businesses turn to social media marketing to build brands

 

REACHING OUT TO MOMS: Joanne Vivero, left, owner of R & J Baby in Doral, with Marirose Mardeni, R&J’s vice president.

THE MIAMI HERALD 

BY CINDY KRISCHER GOODMAN

It's mid-morning and Michael Mendez snaps a photo of the new beer he has just stocked in his convenience store. Within minutes, he posts it on Twitter to his 7,000 followers. If the response is typical, customers will stream in by late afternoon, asking for the rare brew.

Mendez strategically has branded his four Miami-area fuel stations as much more than places for a fill-up. Using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, he has created buzz about craft beers and other products inside the station shop, where the profit margins are higher than at the pump.

“Branding in today’s world is knowing people and relating to them,” said Mendez, whose Mendez Fuel customers often share the photos and spread the word online about his new arrivals.

In recent years, small-business owners like Mendez have turned to social media, email and mobile marketing websites to build visibility for their brands. In 2014, say experts, digital marketing is no longer simply a way to bump up brand awareness: It has become essential. With 73 percent of U.S. internet useres turning to social networking sites and 53 percent of American adults carrying a smart phone, businesses that don’t employ social network marketing may find themselves losing out to the competition.

“If you are counting on your business to generate profit for a while or if you plan to leave it as a legacy for a family member, if you’re not branding and marketing online, you’re being irresponsible,” says Stephen Cabeza, founder of Amplification Inc, a Fort Lauderdale social media marketing company.

At a time when 85 percent of buyers go online to research purchases, successful social media marketing has the potential to generate more traffic to a website, send customers to a retail location, create awareness for a brand and build allegiance. According to a 2014 State of Marketing Report produced by ExactTarget digital marketing firm, 86 percent of the 2,500 global marketers surveyed believe social media is currently or will eventually provide financial return. “With this in mind, we expect to see marketers using social media to better boost their brand with customers,’’ wrote the report’s authors.

Already, more than two-thirds of small business owners are spending more time on social media than a year ago, according to a survey by VerticalResponse, a San Francisco-based company. Indeed, 43 percent of respondents said they spend six or more hours per week on social media activities for their businesses. They are posting to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Google Plus and blogs. But those who do so effectively aren’t just spending hours blasting blindly into the ether.

“Conversation is the new marketing,” said Kellie Kuecha, a Boca Raton life coach who calls herself the Brand Re-Coder. The key, she says, is to consistently post meaningful, authentic content across all of your social channels and get people to trust you and talk about your brand. You want to interact with your followers by replying to direct messages and posing questions and you want to post more of the content that you notice followers like, share and comment on the most. That could include photos, videos, graphics, illustrations or words.

By sparking a conversation, telling your story and offering something special rather than just pitching your product, you have a chance to make your company stand out and chose you instead of a competitor, Kuecha advised. “You have to use social media to attract people into your world. Once you do that, the selling process is easier.”

 

The Work/Life Balancing Act

Why managers and millennials need each other

I'm fascinated by the future of work. What workplaces look like when today's young employees are managers? Are today's managers smart enough to engage and prepare the managers of the future? 

Today, I used some new research to tackle the topic of how and why millennials and managers need each other. I'd love to hear your thoughts on what's going on in your workplaces. Are managers flexible in how they manage young workers?

 

Millennials offer a lot to employers but have their own expectations, too

 

 

Andrew Paton, 35, is a retail sales director at Dade Paper and manages many young Millennials. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, Paton, was walking through Dade Paper's warehouse talking with 28-year-old Jessica Sanchez, the supply chain coordinator. EMILY MICHOT / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

BY CINDY KRISCHER GOODMAN

Is moving on from an employer the only way for a young person to get ahead in their career?

It may if something doesn’t change for millennials in America’s workplaces.

Look around your office and it’s likely you will see young faces who want an entrepreneurial culture where their ideas are listened to and their voices heard. But new research shows managers often feel millennials want too much too soon and don’t know how to keep them on a career path that keeps them engaged.

“I think there’s a disconnect because older workers come from a time when you have one career for life and corporate loyalty, and millennials just want to make an impact on day one,” says Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding, a consulting firm that helps companies understand the potential value of millennial workers.

Frustrated, young innovators often take a “move up or move on” attitude. Indeed, Schawbel’s research shows America’s millennials will have an average of 11 jobs between ages 18 and 34.

Eric Schecter, 27, has had four jobs. He says he tried to fit into traditional companies but considers himself an entrepreneurial spirit. He most recently worked as social media director at Carnival Cruise Line for two years. In January, Schecter left to become a partner in two innovative start ups — The GiddyUp Group and Skynet Aire. “I was looking for the lifestyle outside of a big company, where I can do my own thing and travel and set up companies where I can work from anywhere in the world.”

Schecter says as an employee, he saw the disconnect between the generations. “Millennials want to be able to move at a quicker pace in their careers, to leverage technology and do away with less efficient processes, and that’s hard to do in a bigger corporation where older managers are used to doing things a certain way.” While some big companies are empowering young employees to try new approaches, “it’s still a really slow process,” he says.

Clearly, managers are having trouble understanding the value millennials could bring. New research shows a majority of young employees believe their bosses can offer experience and wisdom. Managers, on the other hand, largely view millennials as having a poor work ethic, being easily distracted, and having unrealistic salary expectations, according to the Gen Y Workplace Expectation study released Sept. 3 by Millennial Branding and American Express.

But, given that three-quarters of the workforce will be millennials in slightly over a decade, companies need to keep young entrepreneurs working on the inside if they’re going to stay in business and succeed, Schawbel says.

In most workplaces, managing millennials falls mostly to Gen Xers, (ages 33 to 50) many of whom also oversee older workers. Andrew Paton has worked at Dade Paper, a 75-year old Miami company, for more than a decade. At age 35, he manages employees of three generations. Paton has seen from the resumes he receives that when millennials feel stifled, they move on quickly. For him, the challenge is setting criteria for promotions and raises to keep his entire team engaged. Where his older workers want to be evaluated on goals and numbers, his younger workers want to be recognized for their ability to solve problems. Seeing the gap, he tries to keep his young sales force engaged by being flexible.

He also recognizes his 20-something workers want to incorporate more technology into their jobs, which he encourages, as long as they also work to strengthen their soft skills. “We want creative thinking, but we want them to learn the old-school way of doing business, which is about face-to-face and personal relationships.”

Most managers agree with Paton that millennials need to bolster critical soft skills to advance. In the workplace expectation study, almost 90 percent of managers said the top skill for a young employee was his or her ability to prioritize work, followed by a positive attitude and teamwork ability.

On the other hand, expectations around soft skills are oftentimes unclear to young workers, the research shows. Millennials polled said they often felt they weren’t getting enough feedback from their bosses and there were differences around the timeframe for raises or promotions. Three quarters of managers polled said it would take about four years for an employee to move to the management level; by contrast, only 66 percent of millennial said it should take that long.

Jeremy Condomina, a 27-year old business analyst and computer system trainer at Dade Paper, says his generation struggles with the concept of proving themselves at work. “Often we try to push the envelope because we have an entrepreneurial spirit that the older generation doesn’t have. In college, we’re taught to share our ideas and expand on them. But in companies, it’s money and lives at stake and innovation is slow. It tends to frustrate millennials and make them feel ignored.”

Condomina says his solution was to take a position where being innovative was built into the job description. His job is to analyze work flow and business processes and try to find ways to improve it. “It gives me the freedom to be an innovator.”

Schawbel says the number one thing that managers need to do to keep millennials engaged is set expectations by telling a young employee what specifically to do to become a manager in a set number of years. “That’s key. Those expectations are so important, and nobody is setting them, which is why turnover is so high.”

Nikolai De Leo, a 25-year-old with Ernst & Young in Miami, says millennials not only want to know their path, they want to learn why they’re doing a task a certain way and that what they’re doing isn’t menial. “Recently, my manager explained the bigger picture, how my work helped in the grand scheme. That’s the best management style.”

Schawbel says he wants to encourage millennials to see that there are ways to get recognition and find career success without jumping ship. In tandem with the new research, he has released a book aimed at millennials: Promote Yourself, The New Rules for Career Success. He encourages young workers to become “intrapreneurs” within the corporation by taking risks, selling their ideas and seeing opportunities where others don’t.

“If you see an opportunity your company is not taking advantage of, do your research and build a presentation. That’s how you stand out,” he says. “The idea is to get people within your company to see you as a future leader.”

 

 

The Work/Life Balancing Act

Why managers and millennials need each other

I'm fascinated by the future of work. What workplaces look like when today's young employees are managers? Are today's managers smart enough to engage and prepare the managers of the future? 

Today, I used some new research to tackle the topic of how and why millennials and managers need each other. I'd love to hear your thoughts on what's going on in your workplaces. Are managers flexible in how they manage young workers?

 

Millennials offer a lot to employers but have their own expectations, too

 

 

Andrew Paton, 35, is a retail sales director at Dade Paper and manages many young Millennials. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, Paton, was walking through Dade Paper's warehouse talking with 28-year-old Jessica Sanchez, the supply chain coordinator. EMILY MICHOT / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

BY CINDY KRISCHER GOODMAN

Is moving on from an employer the only way for a young person to get ahead in their career?

It may if something doesn’t change for millennials in America’s workplaces.

Look around your office and it’s likely you will see young faces who want an entrepreneurial culture where their ideas are listened to and their voices heard. But new research shows managers often feel millennials want too much too soon and don’t know how to keep them on a career path that keeps them engaged.

“I think there’s a disconnect because older workers come from a time when you have one career for life and corporate loyalty, and millennials just want to make an impact on day one,” says Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding, a consulting firm that helps companies understand the potential value of millennial workers.

Frustrated, young innovators often take a “move up or move on” attitude. Indeed, Schawbel’s research shows America’s millennials will have an average of 11 jobs between ages 18 and 34.

Eric Schecter, 27, has had four jobs. He says he tried to fit into traditional companies but considers himself an entrepreneurial spirit. He most recently worked as social media director at Carnival Cruise Line for two years. In January, Schecter left to become a partner in two innovative start ups — The GiddyUp Group and Skynet Aire. “I was looking for the lifestyle outside of a big company, where I can do my own thing and travel and set up companies where I can work from anywhere in the world.”

Schecter says as an employee, he saw the disconnect between the generations. “Millennials want to be able to move at a quicker pace in their careers, to leverage technology and do away with less efficient processes, and that’s hard to do in a bigger corporation where older managers are used to doing things a certain way.” While some big companies are empowering young employees to try new approaches, “it’s still a really slow process,” he says.

Clearly, managers are having trouble understanding the value millennials could bring. New research shows a majority of young employees believe their bosses can offer experience and wisdom. Managers, on the other hand, largely view millennials as having a poor work ethic, being easily distracted, and having unrealistic salary expectations, according to the Gen Y Workplace Expectation study released Sept. 3 by Millennial Branding and American Express.

But, given that three-quarters of the workforce will be millennials in slightly over a decade, companies need to keep young entrepreneurs working on the inside if they’re going to stay in business and succeed, Schawbel says.

In most workplaces, managing millennials falls mostly to Gen Xers, (ages 33 to 50) many of whom also oversee older workers. Andrew Paton has worked at Dade Paper, a 75-year old Miami company, for more than a decade. At age 35, he manages employees of three generations. Paton has seen from the resumes he receives that when millennials feel stifled, they move on quickly. For him, the challenge is setting criteria for promotions and raises to keep his entire team engaged. Where his older workers want to be evaluated on goals and numbers, his younger workers want to be recognized for their ability to solve problems. Seeing the gap, he tries to keep his young sales force engaged by being flexible.

He also recognizes his 20-something workers want to incorporate more technology into their jobs, which he encourages, as long as they also work to strengthen their soft skills. “We want creative thinking, but we want them to learn the old-school way of doing business, which is about face-to-face and personal relationships.”

Most managers agree with Paton that millennials need to bolster critical soft skills to advance. In the workplace expectation study, almost 90 percent of managers said the top skill for a young employee was his or her ability to prioritize work, followed by a positive attitude and teamwork ability.

On the other hand, expectations around soft skills are oftentimes unclear to young workers, the research shows. Millennials polled said they often felt they weren’t getting enough feedback from their bosses and there were differences around the timeframe for raises or promotions. Three quarters of managers polled said it would take about four years for an employee to move to the management level; by contrast, only 66 percent of millennial said it should take that long.

Jeremy Condomina, a 27-year old business analyst and computer system trainer at Dade Paper, says his generation struggles with the concept of proving themselves at work. “Often we try to push the envelope because we have an entrepreneurial spirit that the older generation doesn’t have. In college, we’re taught to share our ideas and expand on them. But in companies, it’s money and lives at stake and innovation is slow. It tends to frustrate millennials and make them feel ignored.”

Condomina says his solution was to take a position where being innovative was built into the job description. His job is to analyze work flow and business processes and try to find ways to improve it. “It gives me the freedom to be an innovator.”

Schawbel says the number one thing that managers need to do to keep millennials engaged is set expectations by telling a young employee what specifically to do to become a manager in a set number of years. “That’s key. Those expectations are so important, and nobody is setting them, which is why turnover is so high.”

Nikolai De Leo, a 25-year-old with Ernst & Young in Miami, says millennials not only want to know their path, they want to learn why they’re doing a task a certain way and that what they’re doing isn’t menial. “Recently, my manager explained the bigger picture, how my work helped in the grand scheme. That’s the best management style.”

Schawbel says he wants to encourage millennials to see that there are ways to get recognition and find career success without jumping ship. In tandem with the new research, he has released a book aimed at millennials: Promote Yourself, The New Rules for Career Success. He encourages young workers to become “intrapreneurs” within the corporation by taking risks, selling their ideas and seeing opportunities where others don’t.

“If you see an opportunity your company is not taking advantage of, do your research and build a presentation. That’s how you stand out,” he says. “The idea is to get people within your company to see you as a future leader.”

 

 

The Work/Life Balancing Act

Why you need to be a rubberband

Want to know the secret to work life balance and career success?

Be a rubber band.

RubberbandBy that, I mean learn to bend, stretch and pop back into shape. Summer is a great time to practice that skill In business, we can no longer be rigid. Just the other day, my friend was telling me that she offered to manage the summer interns at her company. It was a bit of a stretch for her, something that completely took her out of her comfort zone. But she had figured out that it would give her management experience and some clout, enough clout to get some flexibility in her schedule and still look like a star.

It would have been easy for my friend to steer clear of managing the interns because she has no management training. These days, few employees do. But prized employees, successful managers and smart business owners do whatever new is asked of them — without drama — and figure out ways to take initiative to stretch in new directions. The key is adopt a mindset that allows you to look at situations and try new approaches. Performance evaluations almost always give high marks for taking initiative and being adaptible.

Diane Stafford of the Kansas City Star writes:

Sometimes, I hear comments from mid- and late-career job hunters that make me cringe about their re-employment odds. They talk about the way things used to be or about out-dated projects they did in the past. Sometimes their tone of voice is plainly negative or suspicious about change.

They’re not selling themselves as rubber bands. They’re selling themselves as rigid metal O-rings with no stretch toward what they could be.

Look at the business leaders you admire. Would Steve Jobs consider himself a rubber band? Yes. Yes. Yes.

You can put the rubber band idea into practice in your personal life, too. For example, if you've been using the same approach to getting out the door in the morning and you're always late, bend in a different and try a different routine.  Becoming a rubber band could make you more productive, less exhausted and more balanced.
Think about it. Are you a rubber band? If not, what would it take for you to become one?

 

The Work/Life Balancing Act

Do you need an electronic curfew?

Sleep and devices

As someone who has personally fought the battle of electronic devices, I am absolutely convinced that powering down an hour before tucking in leads to a better night's rest. 

But as much as I'm an advocate for electronic curfews, I'm also wondering if it's realistic to give ourselves one. I don't know about you, my iPad loves hanging out on my nightstand and it occasionally, falls into my hands right before drifting off to sleep.

I have lots of company in this habit. According to a newly released study by The National Sleep Foundation, more than 90 percent of Americans regularly use a computer or electronic device of some kind in the hour before bed. We're hooked and we know it.

Now, I've learned that researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute showed that exposure to light from computer tablets significantly lowered levels of the hormone melatonin, which regulates our internal clocks and plays a role in the sleep cycle. Playing a quick game of Fruit Ninja on my iPad at bedtime could lead to sleep disturbances. But it may not be the light of a cell phone or computer alone that triggers sleep problems. It could be the anxiety produced when you, say, read a work e-mail that makes you angry. 

I've noticed that having had a good night's sleep does make a difference in my work day. It's almost as if waking up well rested puts me in the right frame of mind to be a better problem solver. Beware: This weekend, our sleep schedules are about to get messed up — Daylight Saving Time begins this Sunday morning at 2:00 am. Sleep experts say this presents the perfect time to give yourself an electronic curfew. They suggest dimming the lights and listening to soft music before going to bed, having a nice conversation with your spouse or kids, or maybe even reading a magazine or taking a warm bath.

I can think of at least three reasons to give yourself an electronic curfew. 

1. Your work day will be more productive when you can focus.

2. You have less chance of an afternoon slump.

3. You will cut your chance of sleep texting, leading to possible embarrassment.

What can I say? You might be far less effected than others who use electronics right up until they time they shut their eyes. But you will never know if you feel more rested and balanced until you try powering down earlier, will you?

 

 

The Work/Life Balancing Act