How To Motivate Your Best Recruiting Tools

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Have you ever done a simple search on Twitter using the terms “‘my company’ hiring”? If not, take a look at just how many people have tweeted from their personal account about their company’s open positions.

The social nature of today’s employees are making employee referrals more important, and relevant, than ever. And there’s no doubt that employees should be among your top sources for recruiting.

A study by CareerXRoads examined 185,000 hires in 2012 and found that, for every approximately 100,000 external hires, nearly 25,000 of the openings were filled through an employee referral program. Additionally, SilkRoad found employee referrals to be the top source of interviews (57 percent) and hires (61 percent).

Employee referrals and specialized job posting tools have made recruiting strategies much more effective and efficient. Here are some ways to make sure you’re utilizing and motivating one of your best recruiting tools:

Give your employees access to social media at the office. According to a study by global law firm Proskauer, 36 percent of employers actively block access to social media sites. With 90 percent of companies now using social media for business purposes, this seems completely counterintuitive. Allow access to social media sites during work hours — work will still get done and you’ll have happy, referral-driven employees.

Keep employees aware of job openings and provide short, concise wording for them to share the job posting on their social channels or via email. It is also a good idea to provide something simple like a whiteboard in a visible area where job openings can be posted for employees to see.

Develop employee referral programs that provide something other than cash incentives. Consider building a “refer for the team” culture, recognize employees for bringing on strong team members, or offer non-cash rewards like mini vacations. Or, you can let them choose from a list of different options to make it a little more personal.

Develop employee referral programs that provide cash incentives. Providing bonuses in the form of cash, gift cards or prepaid debit cards can be a big motivator for some employees to bring in highly qualified candidates for open positions. If this suits your culture better than non-cash incentives, give it a try.

Take a data-based approach to determine what motivates your employees to refer good candidates.Rather than guessing what the most effective way is, survey a sample of employees who make referrals and those who don’t to understand motivators and barriers to participation. Benchmarking your efforts against other firms is also a great way to pick up other tips.

Make the referral purposeful by giving perspective of what it means to bring in someone you know. Working with a friend can make life more enjoyable for your employees because they are bringing in people they choose to spend time with outside of work. These two worlds coming together are exciting and refreshing.

By keeping your best recruiting tools motivated to continue bringing in great candidates, and using the best tools to source for additional qualified candidates, you’ll be well on your way to a more effective and efficient recruiting strategy.

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.

 

Employee Retention: Is Offering More Time Off the Answer?

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Losing an employee can have negative impacts on an organization, even if the separation was initiated by the employer. Despite terminating an employee for poor performance or something else unsavory, the cost of replacing them can add up. From recruiting costs, time and lack of productivity due to being short-staffed, employers need to consider all that goes into this. But what about voluntary turnover? How can this unexpected disruption in the company’s workforce make a difference?

Regardless of the situation, human resources professionals understand the importance of employee retention and are consistently considering ways to make their offerings, benefits and perks better to stay competitive and attractive to their employees and future hires. Offering things like free lunch, tuition reimbursement, bonuses/incentives, training and development or flexible work schedule have all been things companies incorporated into their offerings, but what happens if that’s not enough?

All of these things can cater to different employees’ needs, but truth be told, employers can’t always offer everything that matters to employees. As we discuss the importance of work/life balance, employees are consistently encouraged to take their vacation time but with a capped amount of paid time off, many employees have actually taken less time off despite having it. This could be due to various reasons, ranging from: stress from getting behind in work and/or coming back to a large workload; determining what’s worth taking time off for; or worries something important will come up after all paid time off (PTO) has been used. I know I’ve even been guilty of saving vacation time only to reach the end of the year and realize I have a ton of days left that will be lost. So what can employers do? Remove the limit.

In my career, I’ve come across many companies that have removed the limitations of PTO. Some of the most interesting concepts I’ve come across are as follows:

  • Breaks for learning: A little over a year ago, I came across a few technology companies that offered their employees several weeks off a year for learning. I thought this was brilliant and felt the employer most likely would progress because employees are bringing back outside learning and applying to their work. Employees are given the freedom to learn about the things that truly inspire and interest them without the stress of having to take time off to do it. And the employer benefits because these new insights can help the organization progress in a way they wouldn’t have otherwise.
  • Sabbaticals: A company I interviewed with about 3 years ago offered month long sabbaticals for every three years of employment. Throughout my career, I’ve had many coworkers quit their jobs to take time off to travel, find their calling or soul search. Perhaps this is more common in younger generations before they have the responsibility of taking care of children, pets and mortgages, but with the influx of generation Y coming into the workforce, it’s something employers need to be prepared for more and more. Rather than lose employees due to their wanderlust or desire to get involved in personal projects, employers offer these sabbaticals to allow them to do the things they want to do without losing their key employees. Pair this with good workforce planning, and employers would be likely to incur less costs than if an employee quit.
  • Unlimited vacation time: Another company I’ve interviewed with also offered unlimited vacation time. I asked them how this affected productivity if employees took time off constantly but learned that it didn’t make much of a difference as if they were capped. The reason was because this structure led to accountability and reward. Employees are able to take unlimited time off if they finished projects and completed work on time. This offered them a little more flexibility in their schedules to get their work done and the reward for finishing projects early or on time was something that kept the team motivated.

Are these options feasible for every employer? Of course not. But in the pursuit to find retention initiatives, this should be considered. Employees can’t get everything they want out of life from their employer and may occasionally come to a crossroad between work and personal desires. Employers offering better PTO benefits might help mediate a person’s individual work/life balance needs.

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3 Ways to Build Your Career Path

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As you continue to move forward in your career, it is important to take a step back and look at the “big picture.” With 70 percent of U.S. workers emotionally disconnected from their workplace, keeping your eye on what you want in your career can help keep you on track and outside of that statistic.

Whether you’re looking at what next steps to take within your company, or within your industry, it is important to think about what you’re working toward — doing what you love to do and what you’re good at doing.

Here are some ways to make sure your career path is headed in the right direction:

Identify and cater to your natural talents

Your natural talents are the positive traits that you are born with. As opposed to your strengths, which are skills that you build up overtime, your talents are things you do often — most of the time without even being aware of it.

For this reason, it can be tricky to determine what your natural talents are. Take a day or two and pay close attention to what you do. Note what seems to come more naturally versus the things that you tend to struggle with or don’t enjoy as much. There are also courses available that can help you to uncover your natural talents.

Once you’ve identified your natural talents, use that knowledge to find ways to cater to those talents in your career path. Whether it is at your current job or networking at events, show off your talents and demonstrate to others your capabilities. If you start to focus on fostering these natural talents, your career path will naturally progress in a positive direction.

Never stop looking for outside inspiration

As you progress in your career, you will undoubtedly meet plenty of people, read a lot of articles, and attend a number of industry events. For those individuals that leave an impression on you, do not lose touch with them — consider making them a mentor. For those articles that inspire you, bookmark them, share them, and integrate them into your daily life. For those events that leave you inspired to do so much more within your industry and job, continue attending and find other events like it. 

Inspiration is an important part of any successful career — it’s what motivates you to go above and beyond your job description. In the end, your career is not about the quantitative, but qualitative. It is about the quality relationships you build, the people that inspire you, and the actions that you learn from. The things that inspire you most will guide your career path in a less noticeable but very impactful way.

Take a look at where you are right now

Take a moment to step back and look at your current professional situation. Two important things you should ask yourself are: “Do the people I’m surrounded by everyday continually inspire me to be better?” and “Does the prospect of getting further in a career similar to what I’m in excite me?”

Moving ahead in your career is exciting, but remember to slow down now and then, take a step back, and see the big picture. Consider if you’re in a place that you enjoy spending your days and see a future in. If you’re doing what you love, and it is catering to your natural talents and strengths, it is likely you’re on the right path and it will naturally guide your career in the right direction.

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.

 

7 Ways to Encourage Creativity in the Workplace

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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.

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

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.

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.

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.

10 Skills that Baby Boomers can Learn from Gen Y

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While Generation Y is sometimes criticized for having a sense of entitlement and a less than stellar work ethic, this generation may bring more to their careers than you think. If you are part of the Baby Boomer generation, you might want to pay attention and take notes. Here are 10 skills that you could learn from Gen Y:

    1. Multi-tasking. Though you may be irked when you see a Gen Y-er downing her lunch while discussing social media trends via FaceTime[i] on her smartphone and simultaneously tapping away on her iPad, you should admire her ability to accomplish multiple tasks at the same time. As a baby boomer, you could try and do the same for a day. See if you are able to boost productivity and save time.
    2. Speaking of productivity . . . Gen Y doesn’t seem to experience ‘information overload’ since they don’t appear to feel it. They were typically brought up tapping away on a computer and using the Internet so it’s no big deal for them to crowdsource while making the most of social media sites, too. Combined with multi-tasking and working anywhere—like in coffee shops, home offices, or planes—productivity could make them vital team players.
    3. Connectivity. Gen Y is connected—whether on LinkedIn, Tumblr, Facebook or Twitter. They often take social media to the next level and make the most of it by networking professionally. For example, they might send an invite to connect on LinkedIn right after introducing themselves to a new employee at a meeting.
    4. Reaching out. Gen Yers don’t seem to be intimidated when connecting with top executives in their company. While Baby Boomers might see these moves as brazen, Gen Y workers may view it as effective networking which could help their careers down the road.
    5. Job mobility. Baby Boomers may not feel comfortable with Gen Y and their job hopping. However, Gen Y doesn’t seem to view moving to the next employer negatively. Instead, they recognize that many people could be laid off without any forewarning and they take whatever opportunities present themselves to enhance their career skills.
    6. Smartphone love. Gen Y apparently loves smartphones. This tool is one which allows them them to multi-task while waiting at the doctor’s office or when they are standing in line to be seated at a restaurant. Multi-tasking may mean increased productivity since Gen Yers don’t seem to mind accessing the Internet at all hours or when they have a few spare minutes.
    7. Communication. Since Gen Y appears to have grown up on the Internet and is comfortable writing online, their communication skills may be more effective in reaching larger audiences. Baby Boomers could get more involved with online communication by beginning a blog and publishing their articles to their readers. This way, they may gain more practice writing for groups and become more comfortable receiving feedback in the form of comments on the blog site.
    8. Job resilience. Gen Y often makes the most of entrepreneurship to provide themselves with a job safety net. They might start a new business in their parents’ garages or their childhood bedrooms. They might view their careers as more than just paychecks and, by coming up with Plan Bs, they could be creating safety nets in case they get laid off unexpectedly.
    9. The environment. Gen Y seems more concerned about the environment. They could find it more important than a Baby Boomer to work in a green setting and in an office that incorporates green energy use.
    10. Diversity. Gen Y-ers appear to be more comfortable working with other people from different cultures and backgrounds than Baby Boomers. They do not appear as phased by fellow employees or clients with diverse ethnicities.

If you are a Baby Boomer, maybe it’s time to stop and take a hard look at how you could benefit from incorporating some of Gen Y’s helpful work practices into your own career. You may be surprised by positive results.

About the Author: Written by Mandy Fricke and edited by Laura Morrison. To learn more about online programs, click here.