7 Ways to Encourage Creativity in the Workplace

workplacecreativity

Finding ways to foster workplace creativity and innovation isn’t easy. But, if you want your company to thrive, you must empower employees to achieve great things. In doing so, they will likely take on responsibilities and roles that extend beyond their job description. This cycle of creativity and innovation is one you want to foster and maintain in order to see your company prosper.

If you’d like to see more of this in your workplace, here are some effective ways to amp up creativity and innovation in any office environment:

Be the leader they need

No one has a more important role than the leader when it comes to cultivating innovation and creativity. As a leader, if you show that you are invested in your team and their contributions, they will stay motivated.

On the flip side, if your employees continually come to you with new ideas that get pushed aside or forgotten about, they will stop bringing them altogether. Always set aside time to talk through everything and figure out how and if new ideas can be implemented. If they can’t, make sure they know new ideas are still appreciated — even just a simple thank you will do!

To take it one step further, you may also consider offering incentives or rewards. This could be gift cards, bonuses, or public/private recognition to make your team feel like you appreciate their ideas and that it pays off to share them.

Look at the bigger picture

If you’re just beginning to foster a more creative an innovative workplace, you may need to spur some ideas at first. One way to do this may be to identify company goals and outline tasks that employees can do to help the company achieve those goals.

These goals may be tied to increasing productivity and efficiency, profits, or team collaboration. By putting your employees in charge of a clear directive that will directly impact the company’s bottom line, you can empower them to make a difference.

Make sure you’re not just assigning extra responsibilities to your team, though. Clearly explain all of the goals and tasks, and then let your employees willingly raise their hands to take leadership of something. This way they will be able to choose something they are personally passionate about, leading to much better results.

Provide a workspace conducive to creativity

Google has slides, a fireman’s pole and napping rooms. Real estate investment firm Fundrise has an office dog, Zappa. Student hub, Chegg, has a lifesize chess set. Discovery commerce platform Birchbox hosts in-office concerts. The possibilities for making your workplace more conducive to creativity and innovation are endless!

Add bright colors, out-of-the-ordinary office furniture, and fun office activities to help employees  get the creative juices flowing. If a slide or dog isn’t realistic, consider a ping pong table, a mini fridge stocked with beer, or a simple paint job to bring color to the office.

Encourage new ideas from everyone

You may think that all of your employees with good ideas are vying for your attention and making their new ideas known to the entire office. But it is possible that there are a few people with great ideas that feel they have no way to share them.

For your less outspoken employees, offer a suggestion box in which employees can submit their ideas quietly. Also, try to make a point to connect with the more quiet team members by taking them out to lunch or meeting with them so they feel they can share their ideas privately.

Embrace diversity

When someone mentions workplace diversity, we tend to think quotas and politics. However, diversity can have a significant and positive impact on creativity and innovation in your workplace.

If you’ve cultivated an environment in which everyone thinks the same way and tends to agree with the same things, it is going to be very difficult to get a well-rounded pool of ideas. Plus, where’s the fun in that?!

During the hiring process, consider the background and experience you already have on your team and make sure you are focused on bringing in talent with something new and fresh to offer.

Extend beyond expectations

To cultivate an innovative environment in which employees are driven to go beyond their job descriptions, cross-training can be very useful. Cross-training involves teaching an employee who was hired to perform one job function the skills required to perform other job functions.

Remember: There is a fine line between empowering your employees to learn additional job duties, and overwhelming them. When you find a healthy balance that empowers rather than overwhelms, you can formally organize a process to get employees prepared to do more than just one single job. This not only helps the company run more efficiently, but it also keeps them interested and engaged.

Awaken competition

There are a number of ways you can spur healthy competition within the workplace. It generally comes about in two ways: organized or organically.

Organized competition can be something like an idea board. This is where all of the great ideas presented to leadership and gives recognition to each person that came up with the idea. Organic competition, on the other hand, will come about naturally between employees in similar roles.

Keep an eye on your team and see that these friendly competitions don’t get too out of control. It’s natural and fun to have a little competition among co-workers, but if it becomes malicious or is at the expense of others, it will require intervention by leadership.

Amping up creativity and innovation in an office environment can be a challenge, but simply encouraging feedback and competition, providing an inspiring workplace, and embracing your role as a leader can make a world of difference.

Weigh in! What kinds of things have you found to foster creativity in your workplace?

About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

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Why Sourcers are Crucial for Talent Acquisition

Why Sourcers are Crucial for Talent Acquisition

An American judge must decide who is right between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's estate and a Sherlock Holmes expert

When I first heard of sourcers, I’ll be honest, I had no idea what their purpose was. The job duties seemed similar to a recruiter and I couldn’t discern the need to divide the role into two. It wasn’t until I had the opportunity to work as a sourcer that I learned how essential they are to the talent acquisition process. After being in the industry for years, I was actually surprised more companies hadn’t used these individuals sooner. Sourcers really make an impressive impact.

Below are some top duties I performed as a sourcer. I truly believe these things are what made the recruitment process more successful than any recruitment role I had been involved in the past:

  • Support for recruiters and deep mining of candidates:Recruiters can be bombarded with a lot of tasks that take away from their ability to seek out top candidates. These tasks range from coordinating/communicating with hiring managers, managing ATS, administrative duties and so on. Although these things are essential to keep the process flowing, it prevents them from taking the necessary time to find passive candidates, post jobs in unique places, build relationships with distinct professional organizations and so on. Sourcers aren’t bogged down with all the irrelevant duties and can focus on mining for talent, which increases talent pipelines and creates better opportunities for quality candidates.
  • Market research: Just as stated before, time can be limited for recruiters. Sourcers have the ability to not only mine for talent but also to perform deep research on the talent markets. They can determine the supply vs. demand, competitor intelligence, best places to find talent and more. Having this market research can help companies reposition their strategies to be more attractive and proactive.
  • Employment branding: Of course posting to job boards is important for getting candidate applications, but sometimes recruiters are only able to have enough time to do just that. Sourcers can get creative with the job postings. For example, when I was sourcing for software developers in San Francisco, I took the time to craft postings for jobs, social media, and tech specific groups (i.e. GitHub). I would highlight interesting things about the company, teams, products and what not. It made the opportunity more “three dimensional” and helped it stand out from the typical noise.
  • Initial screening: Time is precious and we can only screen so many candidates. Unfortunately, automatically screening out candidates before speaking to them can cause companies to miss out on hidden gems. Sourcers can provide a better candidate experience by performing initial screening processes, allowing candidates to have a chance to speak to a human and not feel like their resume went into a black hole.

Although the listed tasks above might seem very basic, it really is surprising how much it can help the talent acquisition strategy. As a sourcer in the past, I believed I made a difference in the process by finding quality candidates, unique candidate referral sources, creative ways to promote the brand and jobs. I also felt like the added support to recruiters helped cut down time-to-fill, which is always a huge bonus.

Photo source

About the Author, Ashley Lauren Perez: After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in human resources and organizational management, Ashley pursued her passion and secured a career path in the human resources industry. She is currently a Sourcing Specialist for WilsonHCG, as well as a Brand Ambassador for WilsonHCG and #TChat.  Additionally, she uses her experience and knowledge to write a blog focusing on an array of Social HR topics. Even if you aren’t in the Charleston, SC, area, you can easily connect with Ashley onLinkedIn,Twitter and Facebook

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Market Research Boosts Recruitment Strategy

Market Research Boosts Recruitment Strategy

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Market research is an essential step in the talent acquisition process and, surprisingly, is a step that may be inadequately implemented or missed all together. During my time in recruiting and sourcing roles, I learned how helpful market research was when starting the initial search for candidates. It’s helpful when identifying current supply and demand, challenges and opportunities. It gave me a solid starting point when pipelining candidates, making my search more efficient and effective. It’s also helped me reposition the position to be competitive.

Here are a few simple things you should review while initially performing market research:

  • Supply and demand reports: pulling these reports can provide some great insight into the talent market. Understanding how many candidates are available in comparison to posted jobs will allow a recruiter to see what they’re up against. Also, understanding average compensation, popular job titles and typical candidate profiles can allow a recruiter to reposition the verbiage if needed to ensure their job postings are more visible.
  • Competitor intelligence: in some cases, the supply and demand reports will also show top job posters in the market. This can make it easy for recruiters to see organizations that are aggressively recruiting for the same types of candidates. In researching these companies, recruiters can develop their outreach and steer conversations with candidates in a way that can highlight positives of the job and company, creating a competitive twist.
  • Pipelining: not all markets and job roles are the same, so it’s important for a recruiter to research the most popular resources to find candidates before investing in these channels. Investigate job boards, social media, career fairs, and so on to see the best places to post your job and source for talent.
  • Partnerships: building relevant partnerships in the talent market can be a great way for you to get your job in front of the right people and allow for opportunities to network with candidates. Research relevant professional organizations, universities/colleges/technical schools, veteran assistance programs, chamber of commerce associations, professional meet ups, and so on to really get a feel for these opportunities.

Although these are four simple suggestions to initially pull market research, it’s surprising how helpful this information can be. It’s allowed my job postings and networking to become more visible, thus allowing for more traffic. It was especially helpful during times I was a virtual recruiter and couldn’t physically do these things. It’s helped me get in front of relevant candidates and identify different ways to position my postings and conversations to ensure my jobs were competitive in the market. Do yourself a favor next time you get a new requisition and perform some of the steps above. I’d love to hear how it impacts your success rate.

About the Author, Ashley Lauren Perez: After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in human resources and organizational management, Ashley pursued her passion and secured a career path in the human resources industry. She is currently a Sourcing Specialist for WilsonHCG, as well as a Brand Ambassador for WilsonHCG and #TChat.  Additionally, she uses her experience and knowledge to write a blog focusing on an array of Social HR topics. Even if you aren’t in the Charleston, SC, area, you can easily connect with Ashley on LinkedIn,Twitter and Facebook

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How to Reward and Motivate Employees–Without Spending Money

“I’ve got some great team members who regularly go above and beyond the call of duty, who give me 110%, and are really making a difference for my company. Then I’ve got others who are steady and good, not stellar, but solid. I want to reward the stellar employees and let them know how much I value their contribution without messing up my whole compensation structure. Do you have any ideas for perks or rewards I could use that don’t involve pay?

I have yet to find an effective reward that doesn’t cost money. That seems to be the way we all keep score. People value their own being by their income and if you want to reward or motivate someone, they seem to need to see dollars. For our business, roles don’t help. Time off with pay works, but that still costs something.”
Dan Constance, Owner, Northshore Fireplace

5 Ways to Reward Your Employees:

1. Celebrate Your Success
“Logo t-shirts and coffee mugs are popular, so if we get any for customers, we include staff too. Birthdays are celebrated with cake and cards signed by everyone. We sometimes give out one-of-a-kind certificates for acts of special significance – like the shipping clerk who chased a customer on foot down several blocks with a forgotten package. We recently had a spectacular month, and to celebrate, we ran a week-long lunchtime bag-toss tournament culminating in an outside-catered onsite barbecue lunch. Turned out the tournament was a huge amount of fun, and we will definitely repeat it next year. People always appreciate being able to go home early before major holidays, and since this is not a very productive time, it is of little cost and shows our staff that the company recognizes they have lives outside of work!”
Chrissy Hansen, Marketing Manager, Cozy Products

2. Treat Employees as Co-Workers
“I, personally, really care about our employees and their families. I treat them as co-workers and not employees. I work as hard as they do. For example, during the rush of the end of the month, I will stay at work up to the time the last moving crew comes back. When the employees see you, the boss, waiting for them to come back and they realize that you are as tired as them, they will show up the next day waiting to see you at work as well. And they do. And that makes them feel part of the company. But most of all, my employees know that I will be there for them during good times and hard times. I have been there for weddings, anniversaries, baptisms, wakes, funerals and hospitals.”
Mina Georgalas, Bernard Movers

3. Let Your Team Choose Activities
“I make them come up with ideas! While it’s a small monetary investment, we have a $400 monthly budget for any sort of “fun” activities that’s pretty much first come first serve. It allows us to have all sorts of events (movie nights, ping-pong tournaments, happy hours, etc.).”
Erik Severinghaus, Founder, Simple Relevance


4. Word of Mouth Recognition
“We do a lot of work with helping companies create a culture of innovation and incentivizing employees is a critical part of the process. Ironically, when we query employees, most do not necessarily want to be financially rewarded for their actions. First and foremost, they want recognition by their peers and superiors for a job well done. From a simple mention in a staff meeting to a formal plague or trophy for a job well done – word of mouth recognition is always welcomed. Establishing a formal award system like an “Employee of the Month” program with preferred parking, a Friday afternoon off or other special treatment are also well received. Don’t hesitate to ask your own employees how they’d like to be “compensated” for a good job…customizing the gift to each employee goes a long way to making them feel empowered and supported.”
John Edelmann, Cloverleaf Innovation

5. Hire the Right People
“Motivating our employees effectively without spending too much money is a balance and once again, starts with hiring the right people who embody the values of the company. This enabled us to create an environment where our employees feel that it is their company/business and they care about its progress, growth and reputation.”
Dr. Jason Jared, Chiropractic Physician, ProACTIVE Chiropractic & Physiotherapy

It’s important to reward your top performers, but it doesn’t always have to be about the money.

About the AuthorBrad Farris is the founder of EnMast, a community of business owners committed to being better leaders and growing better businesses. He is also principal advisor of Anchor Advisors, with experience leading businesses & business owners into new levels of growth and success. Through his work with over 100 Chicago area small businesses he has experience in guiding founders and business owners through the pitfalls and joys of growing their business. Prior to joining Anchor Advisors, Brad spent over 10 years managing business units for a family-owned conglomerate with sales of $2 million to $25 million. When not working Brad enjoys cycling, cooking and the NFL. He is married with 5 children and lives in Chicago, Illinois. Connect with him on Google+Twitter

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4 Ways to Attract Killer Talent

Finding killer talent to fill open jobs is a problem many companies are facing these days. In fact, 49 percent of employers report difficulties finding qualified candidates for their jobs.

So what are some things you can do to attract the best talent out there? Let’s look at a few simple actions companies are overlooking in the search for the best and brightest:

Pay Attention to Company Culture

It’s no surprise people are attracted to a healthy company culture. They like to wake up each day and go to work with a sense of purpose, an excitement to see coworkers, and to make a contribution to the company mission. In fact, experts suggest a 20-30 percent increase in corporate productivity when compared with competitors who pay less attention to cultivating a healthy culture.

If you are already proud of the culture you’ve spent so much time planning and building, you need to share the fact. Post employee testimonials on your website, plug it as a benefit in your job postings, share company photos on social media, submit guest blogs about the best cultural practices to online news outlets with high readership. Think of creative ways to highlight your culture and increase the visibility of such to new talent.

Offer Creative Compensation

Job seekers aren’t just looking for money anymore. While competitive salary structures are a must if you want to attract the best talent, there are other ways to creatively sweeten the pot.

Take vacation time, for example. While in most companies it’s a ‘given’, not every company offers opportunities beyond the standard two-week allowance. While not breaking the bank you can provide options like a few Volunteer Days Off (VDOs) in which employees can take a day to volunteer for their favorite charitable organization. In this way, you help employees give back to the community, which can significantly improve morale!

Take Part in Career Fairs

Much of the job search process is conducted online these days. While the Internet offers countless opportunities to find excellent talent, the old fashioned career fair should never be overlooked.

According to a recent survey, 44 percent of recent college grads apply to between one and five jobs at a time. Attending job fairs not only helps you get your brand in front of job seekers, but also gives you a better chance of ensuring one of the opportunities they pursue is yours. Job fairs also allow to you to get an in-person sense of these prospective candidates. You can gain valuable information about a person in a brief conversation; a chance usually only afforded by the interview process!

Engage Prospective Talent on Social Media

While you are taking steps to meet prospective talent in person, head to social media platforms to engage talent online. Recent statistics report 73 percent of employers successfully hired candidates who were engaged via social media.

The process to finding the best talent needs to start before you have a position that needs filled. Avoid simply posting your jobs on social media platforms and instead look to engage with prospective candidates. Engagement means interaction. Post relevant information about finding the best jobs, ask for followers’ input and opinions, and respond when someone has something insightful to say. When you increase the amount of communication you have with your followers, they will be more likely to pay attention when you do share available positions.

Finding the best talent for your jobs can be a challenge, so if you are having a difficult time navigating the obstacles associated with finding great prospective employees, consider adopting a few new strategies. By advertising your company’s best qualities in creative ways and engaging with talent more directly, you will be sure to attract killer candidates in no time.

What do you think? What tactics to you employ to find great new talent?

About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

 

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5 Genius Interview Questions

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It is difficult to get to know someone in the average 40 minutes it takes to conduct an interview. Sure, you may have spoken on the phone once or twice, but assessing a candidate’s worth to your company in the time it takes to conduct an interview is no small task.

As a hiring manager, you have to be creative on this front every day. You have to read between the lines of candidates’ answers to your questions to ascertain their potential. Most candidates will come prepared with stock answers to the most common questions, so you need to ask questions to engage them in real conversation. Here are a few suggestions:

1. What is one thing you would change about your last job?

There is much to learn about a candidate in this one simple question. Their answer will shed light on how they view management, how well they work as part of a team, and how much they invest in their company. It will also reveal some creative problem-solving skills. There are ways to improve any workplace, and employees who exhibit the ability to see a problem and come up with a constructive solution are a valuable asset.

This question also reveals potential leaders. Candidates who complain about an aspect of a past job they resented are likely going to do the same thing in your company. Those who come up with creative solutions, on the other hand, are likely to help your company grow. These are future managers and project leaders; people who can potentially make an incredible contribution.

2.  What is one thing you are interested in doing that isn’t in this job description?

The answers to this question will demonstrate how closely a candidate has read the job description and the amount of time they have spent considering how well they will fit. It will reveal skills the candidate may not have included on their resume, and different directions their career could take in your company.

Multi-faceted employees thrive when they are not pigeon-holed into one set of tasks, and the interview is a perfect time to find out how they might be creatively utilized in the workplace.

3. Why do you think you fit within our company culture?

This is a great question to ask if you want to know how a candidate will fit into your company culture, which is as important for you as it is for them. A good company culture is the second highest priority for most job seekers, second only to salary.

A candidate may be surprised when you ask this question, but a valid answer shows they’ve done their research, and further that they are interested in your company for more than just a paycheck. They’re interested in the lifestyle and culture of your workplace.

4. What did you learn from your greatest professional failure?

Most interviewers ask candidates to expound upon their greatest professional accomplishment. It is just as crucial to know how a prospective employee deals with failure. Some may hedge around the question, or give an example of a minor slip-up. This is indicative of a person who is ashamed of of failure and fearful of recounting examples to a prospective employer.

An honest candidate will not be afraid to tell you exactly what went wrong and the valuable lesson they took from it. Everyone makes mistakes, but those who learn from those mistakes experience professional and personal growth at an exponentially faster rate. You want to hire someone who will grow with your company, not someone who will shrink away from possible failures.

5. Are there any members of the current management you are interested in working with?

If you want to know how well the candidate has done their homework on the company, this is the question to ask. The candidates most dedicated to getting your job will know the management team and their backgrounds.

Further, this gives you an opportunity to suggest further training or mentorship if you hire the candidate. If you invest creatively in the professional growth of your hires, you will see your efforts rewarded in the form of a dedicated, loyal team member.

The interview process is your singular opportunity to asses the potential of a candidate, and making the wrong choice will result in the dissatisfaction of both the new hire and your management team. To avoid this, ask questions to engage the candidate in dynamic conversation. This will give you the information you need to find the perfect person for the job.

What do you think? What are your favorite questions to ask candidates during a job interview?


About the Author:
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and#ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

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Why Recruitment Software Doesn’t Pick the Top Candidates

ATS

Recruitment software and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are must-haves in today’s recruitment world. We rely on technology to increase efficiency in nearly all other aspects of our lives, so it only makes sense that we now have software to automate recruitment tracking by handling job applications and resumes electronically.

Using an online recruitment system or ATS allows companies to better organize and streamline the hiring process. But while recruitment software is designed to help save time, reduce errors and ensure proper tracking, it is still unable to perform the single most critical part of the hiring process — picking the top candidate. Technology can only take us so far. In the end, the hiring process will always require a human element to pull the most qualified candidate from a stack of applications.

Email applications still carry an advantage over recruitment software and ATS. They require personal interaction from both sides throughout the entire hiring process. While accepting email applications requires additional time and organization from the employer, in the end, it helps you to more easily pick the top candidate for the job. Employers and candidates alike should take note of the following limitations of recruitment software and ATS:

They act as a funnel

Each new job posting will trigger an average of 1,000 resumes submitted. That is a staggering amount of paperwork, especially if you’re hiring for multiple positions at any particular time.

Recruitment software and ATS act like a funnel, taking in a large amount of applications in the beginning, but quickly narrowing them down to a mere few. This may sound great, but the limitation lies in the software’s ability to accurately determine what qualities and soft skills would make a candidate the best suited for the job. As a result, you end up eliminating qualified applicants who may not have used the exact words or descriptions the system was looking for, sending good talent right out the door.

They force candidates into boxes

People aren’t made to fit inside boxes, and their resumes don’t translate well into such rigid form fields, either. An online recruitment system breaks down the information on an application and organizes it into different “buckets.” If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t get recorded, and it is never seen by the employer for consideration.

Sometimes the most unexpected information on a resume is the hidden gem that really makes a candidate stand out. For example, maybe a candidate is a certified yoga instructor or holds a national title in chess, but they’re applying for a marketing job. Holding a title in chess displays critical thinking skills, and being a yoga instructor shows the candidate works well with others. But if ATS don’t know to look for these words and identify them as valuable skill sets, they’re sure to be overlooked. One of the most important components to bring to the hiring process is an open mind. ATS do quite the opposite. They use a set of blinders to only focus on the exact keywords that have been pre-established.

They lack the human element

Many of the limitations of online recruitment system is is lack of human interaction. Nearly three-quarters of resumes will never be seen by human eyes.

In order to choose the best person for the job, candidates need to be evaluated much more personally. This is yet another reason why recruitment technology will never be able to fully replace the human element within the hiring process. A computer will tell you who looks best on paper, but only you can decide who possesses the interpersonal skills and personality that makes them the right fit for your company.

They encourage candidates to play the system

When it comes to applying for a new position, the emphasis has shifted. Candidates now want to know how to carefully craft an application that avoids recruitment software and ATS pitfalls. Learning how to “play the system” has taken precedence over simply submitting the most positive, honest representation of yourself.

Worse yet, ATS reward such tactics by bumping candidates with phony, keyword-laden resumes to the top of the stack, regardless of whether they are truly the most qualified. This is yet one more reason why recruitment software doesn’t pick the top candidate.

They discourage great candidates from applying

We can’t overlook the limitations of recruitment software and ATS that so many companies rely on for their hiring process. Sure, they make accepting and sorting applications a breeze, but
picking the top candidate is a subjective decision that no amount of technology can accurately automate. This will always remain up to the employer. Hopeful applicants should also be concerned with these limitations, as they affect whether their resume ever makes it before human eyes.

In the HR world, the hands-on approach still proves to be the most accurate. Stay involved in the hiring process and don’t rely on recruitment software to make one of the most critical decisions for your company!

What do you think? What limitations have you experienced using an online recruitment system as either an employer or a candidate?


About the Author: 
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and#ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

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Should Social Media Be Allowed At Work?

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Over recent years, social media has quickly integrated its way into the every day life of Millennials.

Social media is no longer just a tool of connecting with friends and family, but also it has become a strategy for building relationships at work. An astounding eight out of 10 Millennials are connected to at least one social media network — and 90 percent of Millennials even use Facebook for personal and work-related reasons.

Millennials don’t want to just have a job these days, they want to have a career where they can make a difference. Millennials are creative thinkers and innovators — so of course, they are going to want to implement technology into their daily lives at work. Social media allows Millennials to engage with coworkers, build relationships with clients, and simply stay connected throughout the work day. While social media has both its advantages and disadvantages, it’s transforming the workplace into a more creative and social environment.

Social media boosts employee morale.

Allowing social media in the workplace is a great way for employers to boost employee morale. It presents employers with the opportunity to build a sense of community while also giving employees the freedom to stay connected during the work day. Employers can create Facebook groups to help employees stay connected and inform them about internal events within the company. Social media can also serve as a virtual water cooler, which can help build the culture of your company. Overall, embracing social media in the workplace builds trust between the employer and their employees. This type of trust shows employees that management trusts them to be productive while simultaneously having the freedom to use social media on the job.

It’s an essential tool for Gen Y.

Social networking has become an essential communication tool for Millennials. Not only does social media allow Millennials connect with friends, family, and coworkers, but it has become the center of much their day-to-day activities. Fifty-six percent of Millennials use social media as a source of communication and 26 percent of Millennials check social networking sites during their breaks at work. Social media in the workplace is essential for Gen Y’ers because it creates transparency and allows them to stay connected, even when they’re at the office. Plus, employers who hire social-savvy Millennials can boost the communication process internally, as well.

Gen Y can educate their company about social media.

Employers who welcome social media in the workplace can definitely grow their company internally and externally. Social media has a huge impact on sales, consumer relations, and the overall brand for a company. By allowing Gen Y employees to bring their knowledge of different social networking tools to the workplace, you can grow your company, reach new customers, and improve employee engagement.

However, social media can decrease productivity for employees.

Whether you’d like to think you’re good at multitasking, you really aren’t. Surprisingly, only two percent of the population can successfully multitask. This means that the other 98 percent of you cannot and social media is often a cause for poor multitasking. Social media can create a distraction for employees, especially when 61 percent of workers spend approximately 15 minutes per day in the office checking Facebook. Although social media is a great way to stay connected, it can create a barrier between accomplishing tasks and productivity in the workplace.

It can also stir up inappropriate online behavior.

This year, we have see many employee blunders on social media. Probably the most memorable employee incident with social media was the Taco Bell employee who posted a photo of himself licking taco shells on Instagram. Now, these silly mistakes aren’t the only ones that happen on social media. Some employees have also been accused of bad-mouthing coworkers or complaining about their jobs. Millennials need to remember that whatever you decide to say on social media, it will always come back to haunt you.

The bottom line, is employers need to embrace social media. 

Social media in the workplace isn’t just beneficial for employees alone, it can actually boost the company’s culture. This is a tool that allows companies to build a community within the workplace and encourage open communication between management and employees. Gen Y employees are quickly filling the workplace and employers need to embrace how social media is essential to their employees’ success.

Do you think social media should be allowed in the workplace? Share your thoughts below!

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Come Recommended.

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Show Me the Money: 5 Tips to Negotiate a Raise

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Asking for a raise can be a bit tricky. There’s that sentiment akin to asking your parents to tack on a few extra bucks to your allowance; and then there’s the walking-on-eggshells feeling you get in trying not to overstep your boundaries with your boss. But asking for a raise is OK, and it’s a two-way conversation that you can navigate tactfully if you keep a few things in mind:

Do Your Time

Although rightly deserved in some cases, a raise is not going to present itself on Day 2, no matter how convincing you are in presenting your case to your boss. The fact is, in order to rationalize paying you more money for the same work, an employer must see that you have made progress and remained loyal to the company. A company can find any old schmo off the street to do the work for a starting level salary. But go above and beyond, and they may be inclined to attach a few more dollar signs to your value.

Determine Your Reasons

In order to present a convincing case to your boss, it helps to understand why you are asking for a raise in the first place. Is it because your living expenses have gone up? Are you expecting a new addition to the family? Don’t misunderstand; simply desiring a higher salary for your excellent work is a completely valid point. But if you can present these motivations to your employer, you may find that they’re more likely to side with you on this one.

Be Reasonable

Of course you’re going to sound like a child when you put forth the whole “I want a million dollars” offer. That, and you’re going to get shut down very quickly. In order to be taken seriously, present a sensible figure to your boss, one that is on par with the work that you complete. This will get you much farther in negotiating with you boss.

Practice Savvy Negotiating Tactics

Alright, that said, you may want to present a number to your employer that is a bit higher than the actual raise you wish to receive. The boss didn’t get to where they are by being a pushover. They’ll likely try to bargain you down, trying to take you at your bottom limit. Before you propose anything, then, figure out what your bottom limit is. Give your boss a number that is higher than this – but not too high – and once negotiating begins, don’t allow yourself to go below this bottom line. Hopefully, the two of you will settle on something in the middle.

Understand Your Value

Logically, a company wishes to pay as little as they can while still employing reliable employees who complete great work. At the same time, their great wish is to keep their workers happy, which is equally – if not more – important to business. You may view a large corporation powerful and yourself lucky, in that they decided to give you a job in the first place. But it’s crucial to realize that you are equally as vital to them as they are to you. You are valuable and they know it. If you’re doing a great job, bring this up in a negotiation. Present numbers, graphs, or work samples when you go in to speak to your boss. Tell them that you’re worth it and show them why. Make them an offer they can’t refuse.

Keep these 5 things in mind when negotiating with your employer and you’ll be more likely to get your point across, make a favorable impression, and walk away with what you deserve.

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Is There a U.S. Talent Shortage?

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Companies throughout the U.S. are reporting difficulties in their search for new talent to fill positions. In fact, in a survey conducted by ManpowerGroup, 39 percent of companies in the U.S. report difficulties filling open positions. While some industries seem to be harder hit than others, it does seem to be a shockingly high number — particularly in light of the number of Americans out of work and having difficulty landing even one interview.

If you are among those many companies having difficulty filling gaps in your workforce, you might consider asking yourself these questions as you approach the search for a new candidate:

What Makes a “Perfect Candidate?”

When you review applications for an opportunity at your company, what makes you give one resume a second glance and toss away another? Are you looking to fill the talent gap with exactly the credentials of the employee who formerly filled that role? Flexibility and creativity during the hiring process leads to casting a wider net in your search for top talent.

Failure to consider a variety of candidates is common. In fact, 87 percent of companies reporting talent shortages are not seeking new sources for talent. Consider looking at different kinds of candidates for your position. Perhaps one applicant doesn’t provide the exact skills you are looking for, but that candidate might bring other valuable skills to the table. As long as they possess the fundamental core skills for the job, there is potential for an excellent addition to your team.

What Am I Doing to Develop My Current Workforce?

One of the first places you should look to deal with a talent shortage is within your existing workforce. Not only is it less expensive, it promotes incentives to work hard in order to earn upward mobility within the company. By investing the time and effort to foster the talent you already have, you may find those glaring talent gaps in your workforce shrink considerably.

Should I Be Using a Search Firm?

You might also consider using a search firm to find exciting candidates for your position. The benefits of using a firm are varied. They have both the expertise to weed out unqualified candidates quickly and a knowledge base of untapped talent pools you may have missed. During a talent shortage, a search firm can be a valuable resource.

How Am I Conducting My Search?

Another mistake companies make when trying to fill open positions is putting all of their proverbial eggs into one or two baskets. Where are you advertising your position? While posting on a handful of the largest job search websites may seem like the best way to attract a huge number of applicants, this should only be the first move.

From there, narrow the field by seeking out places to list your position that target certain industries. There are many specialized websites out there with large talent pools specific to your industry, and you should be taking advantage of them to increase the visibility of your position to the top talent in your field.

Finding the right candidate to fit your job may not be an easy task in the wake of a burgeoning talent shortage in the U.S. You can, however, execute your search with flexibility, creativity, and utilize unique resources to find the best potential hires on the market. The question is, will you ask yourself all the right questions?

What do you think? How does your company respond to gaps in your workforce?  

About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

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