Stay honest, positive in job interviews
A previous employer can and will discuss your performance on the job, so be honest in interviews and stay positive when you are applying for a new job.
No one wants to hire someone who trashes their former employer or gossips about the employer to the hiring manager. The first thing the hiring manager thinks is that their company will get the same treatment when you leave them, according to The Balance Careers.
On the other hand, it is important to be honest, both about your own performance in a previous job and why you left the company. Potential employees should stick to the facts, admit their part in a bad situation, and attempt to be positive.
A hiring manager will probably contact a previous employer. Previous employers can generally share information about documented conduct, job responsibilities and performance, and sometimes salary information.
Just because a company is allowed to share details about previous employees doesn’t mean they will. Most larger companies might share documented negative performance information, but will not share gossip. Most large firms with dedicated human resources and legal departments will stick to basic facts only. Smaller operations might have fewer internal restrictions.
Regardless of what a former supervisor might say, job seekers should be frank when discussing previous jobs. A sudden red flag from a reference can make it appear as if an applicant is hiding information.
Owning up to termination, for example, doesn’t necessarily have to be a deal breaker if the incident makes sense within context. Avoid bad-mouthing a former boss or becoming defensive about the issue. Even with jobs that ended badly, be sure to add positive references whenever possible, as well as some from earlier positions, to make sure the problem isn’t the only thing recruiters see.
Keep your workspace organized and boost your productivity
A clean desk doesn’t just feel nice — it communicates professionalism, reduces stress, helps you keep track of your important tasks, and saves you the time you would have spent hunting for lost files and sticky notes. Try out these strategies to transform your workspace and your work life:
- Use a bulletin board to keep assorted papers from piling up on your desk. If it’s important enough to keep, pin it to the board, but if not, chuck it into the wastebasket.
- Try a hanging closet organizer with clear plastic pockets for shoes or other small items to store extra office supplies. Hang it on the wall or the back of your door, or if you work from home, just stick it in the closet.
- Utilize the space under your desk. A small cabinet or shelf under your desk could be a storage lifesaver.
- Use wall space. You can mount shelving, hooks for cables and headphones, or whiteboards for making notes. You can even buy wall-mounted organizers to stash your supplies or planters to brighten your space.
- Speaking of plants or other decorative items, try to minimize them on your desk. A nice plant stand or stylish wall-mounted shelves will give your office some color without sacrificing desk space.
- Create extra desk space with risers for laptops and monitors.
- Stash a few cleaning supplies within easy reach so you can quickly wipe away dust or clean up coffee rings.
6 blunders that can demotivate your employees
Engaged employees are more productive and creative and less likely to quit. However, demotivating management practices can make employees inefficient and start looking elsewhere for work. Here are six managerial mistakes to avoid.
1. Making too many rules. Organizations need rules, but unnecessary rules can make employees feel cramped and uncreative.
2. Overlooking accomplishments. When managers don’t recognize employee successes, workers become less motivated to exceed expectations.
3. Hiring and promoting the wrong people. Great employees want to work alongside other great workers. Hiring or promoting friends or underqualified employees demotivates those who work with them.
4. Treating everyone equally. Treating all employees equally shows top performers that they’ll be treated the same as underperformers, no matter how hard they work.
5. Breaking promises. Keeping your promise of awards, time off, or raises engenders trust. Reneging on commitments makes you look disrespectful and uncaring, creating an environment where accountability isn’t valued.
6. Tolerating poor performance. No one likes conflict, but when you fail to call out an employee for poor performance, you show the entire team that their underperformance has no consequences.
Engaging your employees and recognizing their worth is key to maximizing your organization’s performance.
Quiet hiring versus quiet firing
In a tight labor market, not only is it hard to find employees, but it’s also difficult to keep them engaged. Gallup has found that at least half of employees are emotionally disconnected from their jobs. Many of these folks do the bare minimum amount of work, and at least 18 percent of workers are actively disengaged, meaning they’re proactively undermining their company.
Disengaged employees can be a major drag on companies and their bottom line. That’s why some companies are pursuing quiet firing. This means the company makes the work environment a bit unpleasant in an effort to encourage disengaged workers to quit. Don’t like it here? Then find a new employer — or so the thinking goes.
Getting employees to quit, instead of flat-out firing them, may reduce costs. Severance packages, for example, can be rather expensive. Further, many companies aren’t exactly sure who the underperformers or disengaged folks are. Quiet firing could spur under-performers to self-identify.
Now, companies are upping the ante with quiet hiring. Instead of just encouraging some folks to quit, businesses are proactively identifying certain employees and then showering them with favoritism. Selecting and rewarding high performers is a business mainstay. However, with quiet hiring, favoritism is also part of an effort to push low-performing employees out. Often, these favored employees are shifted from position to position, working to address an organization’s most acute needs.
Companies aren’t the only stakeholders using “quiet” methods either. Many employees have also been quiet quitting. Essentially, they stop doing their job, perhaps expecting to get fired in the future, but instead of quitting, they continue cashing checks. Gallup believes that disengagement, in general, could be costing the global economy more than $8 trillion.
Tech layoffs explained: Is a once-hot sector on thin ice?
After expanding staff sizes for years, many tech companies have announced dramatic layoffs in recent months. What’s driving the downsizing? Certainly, the risk of an economic contraction fueled fears, but the cutbacks are more complex.
First, the COVID-19 pandemic reshaped the structure and makeup of the tech industry. As COVID closed borders and social distancing became the norm, reliance on digital services surged. Amazon, for example, saw sales spike and responded by expanding services like same-day delivery. Staffing was bolstered to develop and expand digital services and otherwise meet demand.
With the pandemic over, growth has moderated. Amazon saw revenues surge nearly 40 percent YOY in 2020, but growth stalled in 2022. Now, underperforming projects are on the chopping block. In November, Amazon laid off roughly 10,000 tech and corporate employees, according to cePro. In particular, the teams working on Alexa voice-activated devices saw steep cuts. Why? While many customers enjoy the services rendered, monetizing those services hasn’t been as profitable as hoped, with Amazon reportedly losing $10 billion on the devices, according to Macro Trends.
Further, with the Federal Reserve steadily raising interest rates in recent months, borrowing has become more expensive. Many large companies relied on cheap loans and easy access to funds to expand staff. With borrowing costs rising, underperforming projects and bloated tech staffs are much more expensive to maintain.
Employees are sometimes shifted to new roles within companies while underperforming services are cut. But with the labor market remaining tight through the end of 2022, many employers still want to hold onto talent. Further, Revelio Labs found that roughly 75 percent of laid-off tech workers found new jobs within three months.
Are successful people just lucky?
You hear it always: That person was ‘lucky’ in business. Or those people are ‘more fortunate’ than others.
But what role does ‘luck’ really play in success? Psychologists at Stanford University say certain attitudes seem to lead to ‘good luck’ and success in life.
- An open mind. Think of life as a garden of possibilities. Be curious.
- Persistence. Everyone has ups and downs in work and life. You will do well if you persistently follow your goal and deal with disappointment.
- Flexibility. Though you have a specific goal, be open to variations and new ideas.
- Positive thinking. Look at a painful experience and, instead of focusing on what you lost, calculate what you gained.
- Risk-taking, whether it’s in your personal life or at work. It will make you more resilient.
Meanwhile, certain values also play a role in a person’s ‘luck.’
A recent survey by Robert Half staffing shows that honesty may be the most valuable asset in creating opportunity.
Employers told interviewers that honesty was the top requirement for new hires. The same is true for those seeking a better job within an organization. Of the employers interviewed, 58 percent said honesty and integrity are the qualities that impress them most, aside from ability and willingness to do the job. That is an increase of 26 percent compared to five years ago.
No crystal ball needed: Close calls predict the (dangerous) future
“Sweat the details” sounds like something an engineer or an accountant would do. But sweating the details is paramount when it comes to safe working conditions.
Little things can add up to something big. A small hazard will be multiplied by the number of people exposed to it and multiplied again by how long it remains before being corrected.
In fact, even straightforward injury numbers don’t necessarily mean that working conditions are safe.
Suppose a company has zero injuries — is it safe? Safety expert Don Groover wrote in Safety and Health Magazine that a lack of injuries could be more about luck than safety. Exposure and initiative are the keys to a safe workplace. Suppose an observer stands on the ground, watching a worker on a high platform. The worker is using a hammer, and, by chance, the hammer falls. But it misses the observer on the ground. Were there zero injuries that day? Yes. Was the worksite safe? No. You could say the observer was safety-conscious because he might have moved to avoid the hammer. Or you might say that it was luck that the hammer fell at the wrong angle. But over time, if nothing changes, the exposures create problems.
A new hazard can appear anytime, anywhere, and affect almost any job. That’s the time to get it reported and documented. All safety is protected by investigating everyday incidents and correcting minor hazards that could occur on any given day.
Sometimes, people think that a potentially hazardous condition is just normal and expected on the job. Instead, they should be particular about their area. They shouldn’t put up with things like grease on the floor or a wobbly step.
Be watchful. Find the leaking hydraulic hose, missing screws on stairs and railings, missing equipment guards, and empty fire extinguishers.
Watch for missing lights that make it hard to see and damaged signs that are hard to read. Ensure that chemicals are stored correctly and that eye wash units work.
When you discover that something isn’t right, report it right away. For every condition that is made safe, an injury is less likely to occur, says the National Safety Council.
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