Sunday, December 13, 2015

5 Reasons You Should Reverse Mentor with your Millennial Employee

Wonderfully so, there are many opportunities for young professionals to be mentored by seasoned management.

What if management took the day to learn from their millennial employees?

Here's 5 reasons you should try reverse mentoring:

1. They'll probably have something to teach you about social networking or technology
What's Hootsuite? How do they have 100 followers? How can I easily sync my phone with my laptop? Millennials have grown up immersed in technology and have experience with more social networking platforms than you know exist.

2. Getting to know them better will help you to help them succeed
Sometimes we don't know what we need. Work with us. Learn who we are. Chances are spending some one on one time with us will show you which ways we absorb information and how you can help us to be better employees and professionals.

3. You'll most likely learn how to improve your company's culture
It's possible that you have employees who have worked at your company for 30+ years. A young employee will likely take in your culture quickly, and hear about your employees' unhappiness soon after starting their job. Without betraying other employees' trust, they could have insight or ideas about how to improve culture in your work place.

4. You'll gain each other's trust
It's intimidating and difficult to become comfortable with your boss. You want to impress them and hide your shortcomings, which makes it difficult to ask for help. Spending time with your millennial and letting them know that you are there to help them and grow their abilities will make it easier for them to come to you when they need advice.

5. Hearing from them will give you a fresh perspective about how you do things
8 am meetings every Tuesday morning. Sending mass emails about meetings. It's easy to get into a groove about how we do things and forget about searching for more effective ways to get our tasks done. Maybe your millennial will have a system that inputs meetings and requests into a collaborative calendar. Having fresh eyes may improve how you do things.

Reverse mentoring is a great way to get to know your millennial better and improve your working relationship.

Other PR Specialists: Frienemies not Enemies

In a profession often competitive, it can be difficult to see your colleagues as friends instead of allies. But especially in your career, whatever you throw out will generally be thrown back at you.

What does this mean?

"Did you see Karen left a half hour early yesterday?" "Our ComTech pitch got moved to tomorrow afternoon when Aaron isn't in the office. His problem not mine."

The more we try to sabotage our peers or competition, the more they will sabotage us. What if Karen had a doctor's appointment and you offered to help her out so she could leave early and not fall behind? What if you told Aaron about the pitch change, and he let you know about a meeting change the following week? View your peers as allies rather than a threat.

When it comes to connecting with others, go outside your comfort zone.

Ask for opinions and listen to what they have to say.
Work on inclusion and resist exclusion.
Be willing to do your competition favours.

It can be difficult in a competitive environment, but do your best to create relationships with your co-workers. Bonus: our boss will notice your willingness to connect with others and in return, probably make an effort to connect with your or help you as well.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

That Smiley Will Not Make Them Lol: Dos and Don'ts of Texting your Boss

Today, we are virtually obsessed with our smart phones. In fact, a CNBC study showed that 93% of millennials found their smart phones more important than deodorant or brushing their teeth. 

Sometimes it just seems easier to text someone a sentence or two rather than call them. In a world where we're still attached to our phones in meetings and in class, we know the recipient is more likely to see our message before they will answer a call or listen to a voice mail. It's generally agreed that texting is even preferred. 

But then, there's our boss. Can we use short forms? Do I need to call them for that? How about smiley faces?

Keep these tips in mind when texting your boss:

1. Don't communicate important decisions or detailed information through text
Important decisions will require details and discussions not suited to texting. Schedule a meeting in person or over the phone and take notes.

2. Stray away from abbreviations 
You may use abbreviations such as, "LOL", "OMG", or even "WTF" with your friends, but keep it professional with your boss. I generally treat texts with my bosses to an email body template and tone.

3. Don't give bad news over text
Especially when things aren't going the right way, you should meet your boss in person or talk to them on the phone directly. You need to either a) gain advice from your boss or b) assure them that you are able to fix the situation. Give the right tone with your voice and body language rather than leaving it to interpretation through texting.

4. Don't depend solely on texting 
Keep a presence with your boss and colleagues. You don't want to be known as the mute in the office who no one ever sees or is constantly on their phone texting. Texting can be okay on occasion, but make sure especially your boss knows you're around and available if they need you.

5. Leave out the emojis and smiley faces
Emojis are adorable and can even help create tone- but with your friends and family. Your boss needs to see you as professional, capable and a mature adult. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Don't Post That: What Happens in Vegas Will Follow You to the Office

Did you know that when a West-Jet employee gifts you a 'buddy pass' one of the clauses is that you have to look presentable? (i.e. no track pants). This is because when you use the buddy pass, you are representing their company, even if no one knows you are. This maintains a professional image.

Take this into consideration when you post on social networking. While you might think going to Vegas, trespassing on Mike Tyson's property and taking pictures with his Tiger is great fun, you really shouldn't be posting this to social media. 

In 2014, recruiting platform Jobsite released their annual social networking survey and those who think social networking doesn't matter for their career are in trouble.

Survey Stats:
  • 93% of participant managers will review a candidate's social networking before hiring them
  • 55% have reconsidered a candidate based on their findings; 61% of these candidates were put on the 'don't hire' list after this second look
  • 83% won't hire someone who mentions illegal drugs
  • 70% won't hire someone who posts 'sexual' content
  • 44% thought negatively about alcohol posts 

On the flip side, the study uncovered social networking can also be a tool in building your career.
79% of employers hired candidates from LinkedIn, 26% through Facebook and 11% through Twitter.

When you post to Instagram or Twitter, does your Facebook repost these? Use cross-promotion to spread your brand, rather than hinder your chances of landing a job, or even keeping your job. Some organizations even have clauses that require you to reflect their brand at all times. 

In Short:

  1. Use social networking as an opportunity to brand yourself positively. Showcase yourself. Post about your volunteer efforts.
  2. Don't post anything you wouldn't want your grandmother to see. Chances are if she doesn't want to see it, neither does your employer.
  3. Social networking matters. Everyone will see what you post including your colleagues, boss, and potential employers. And if they don't see it, someone will tell them about it. Gossip spreads quicker than you can delete a post. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Five Lines from 'The Office' You Hopefully Won't Be Hearing at Work Today

"I am running away from my responsibilities and it feels good". -Michael

"Toby works in HR, which technically means he works for corporate, so he's really not apart of our family". -Michael

"It's all about my bonus". -Stanley

"I ground up four extra-strength aspirin and put them in Micheal's pudding. I do the same thing with my dog to get him to take his heartworm medicine". -Ryan

"Do I need to be liked? Absolutely not. I like to be liked. I enjoy being liked. I have to be liked. But it's not like a compulsive need to be liked. Like my need to be praised". -Michael

Think of the workplace as your own personal PR. Would you ever say something like Micheal, Stanley or Ryan in a media release or to a client? I hope not.

In your professional life you consider all your audiences.
Who will hear what I say? Who will be affected by what I say? 
Will saying this positively or negatively affect me?
The same goes for interoffice interaction.

Everyone in your office is a stakeholder in not only the company you work for, but in your career. They represent people who have a stake or some sort of say in your organization's decisions and actions. Be cognizant of what you say and how you make people feel in your interaction with your colleges because it will ultimately positively or negatively affect the successfulness and longevity of your career.