Blogs

Do You Choose to Act Like a Temporary Employee or an Entrepreneur?

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temporentreWhat would you do with yourself if you realized that the world of work has changed dramatically and that we have a choice to make? We are basically temps OR we are entrepreneurs that must choose ourselves. That is my interpretation of a wonderfully honest book by James Altucher called Choose Yourself!

We are temps in the sense that we go to work, do our jobs, and collect our paychecks. We don’t love what we do, however, we don’t even really know that there is another option. We don’t put a whole lot into our career when we act like a temporary employee. The career is simply a means to an end. I get paid and I am waiting for someone to tell me what to do and how to do it—that is the extent of the contract.

However, we are all, in essence, rented for a period of time (even though the job is not a true temporary position). Time is relative. If the average tenure of a public CEO is thirteen months, I could make the argument that it is a temporary assignment. It is our attitude, level of engagement, lack of drive to learn, and inability to grow or find ways to become more of an asset that often catch up with us. You act temporary and you don’t know any better!

Or maybe it’s not your fault at all and it’s simply the realities of today’s workplace that did it to you. No company or job is forever, right? The economy, markets, your company, and its industry, all play a key role. I think that is the point of the title of choosing yourself! You are responsible for you. No one else, let alone your current employer. You must own your skills and development and how you monetize what you are capable of! A job simply might not cut it anymore! Or perhaps it just part of you how monetize your time and capabilities?

Being an entrepreneur? Well, I think this is both literal and figurative. All of us must be resourceful, creative, hard working, productive, a risk taker, and a learner. We must find ways to create revenues for our employers and for ourselves on the side. This could be cottage industries, extra jobs, writing blogs or books. We are responsible for our own careers and for inventing ourselves!

The key to NOT being a temp? Act like an entrepreneur. Frankly, the book itself is full of implementable ways of choosing yourself and finding a way to own your income and your career. The magic is in being and thinking differently while you’re employed. Most businesses crave entrepreneurial thinking. Culture and external environment may dictate terms, but it starts within! I, for one, have supported many employees to become entrepreneurs. I have supported side projects and reviewed their cottage industry ideas. Quite frankly, I buy from them, too! This is how you choose yourself.

If cold calls don’t work, change your plans. If the product doesn’t sell, sell something else. If the meeting did not go well, then try again. This is what entrepreneurs do—and it is what great entrepreneurial employees do, too!

Want to meet great entrepreneurial employees? I have a few that get what it takes to chose for themselves! Mary Schaefer (left) is one of our Career Coaches at Barton Career Advisors, and Kelly Hocutt (right) is our Marketing Team Leader for the Outside-In® Companies.

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Two Paragraph Perspectives: Outplacement and Career Transition is About Values

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Blog post by Barton Career Advisors Founder and Managing Partner Chris Barton

We feel strongly that our outplacement and career transition work should be governed by a set of values, and it is. Back in 2008, we brought Barton Career Advisors to the marketplace to change the way business leaders and companies thought about the needs of departing employees. We did research, met with business thought leaders, and even offered pro bono outplacement services to gain valuable experience in developing our business model. Sure, we want to be effective; but more importantly we want to be of value to our clients and to do that we have to live by a set of values. During the genesis of our business, one leader said to me, “Chris, outplacement should be more than just reports and placement statistics. Your business should concern itself with how it makes people feel when they are in career transition.” I have never forgotten that feedback. We developed our concept of values from those early conversations.

In 2013, we became aligned with the Outside-In® Companies and we continue to live those early experiences through a set of twenty core values. How do we live those? In a sensitive situation like a reduction-in-force, or targeted elimination of a position, we give our clients piece of mind that we are going to significantly engage with each individual employee affected. That Nth Degree of service is made possible by a business model that does not force professionals through a prescribed program with little possibility for customization. Further, we leverage our entrepreneurial spirit and risk taking behaviors to come up with new pathways for our clients to address challenging career questions and needs. Lastly, we make our entire team available to gain traction and momentum toward the results that are so evidently needed in outplacement – the next career opportunity. Having values certainly does not mean we are perfect. However, it does mean that we have standards and the bar has been set high.

Barton Career Advisors has recently dedicated its industry pieces and blogging to a new series called Two Paragraph Perspectives. There is so much going on in our world and it is often difficult to consume an entire article, thought leadership piece, whitepaper, or news story. Our world communicates at lightning speed and most of that happens in 140 characters or less. For the previously mentioned reasons we will bring you key thoughts, insights, and questions in an easy to consume two paragraph format. Before the steam is finished rising off your morning coffee or tea you will be done reading our bi-weekly digest of all things career transition, personal brand management and outplacement best practices. We hope you are looking forward to this series written by our Founder and Managing Partner, Chris Barton.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Two Paragraph Perspectives: Outplacement and Career Transition is About Values

  by    0   0

Blog post by Barton Career Advisors Founder and Managing Partner Chris Barton

We feel strongly that our outplacement and career transition work should be governed by a set of values, and it is. Back in 2008, we brought Barton Career Advisors to the marketplace to change the way business leaders and companies thought about the needs of departing employees. We did research, met with business thought leaders, and even offered pro bono outplacement services to gain valuable experience in developing our business model. Sure, we want to be effective; but more importantly we want to be of value to our clients and to do that we have to live by a set of values. During the genesis of our business, one leader said to me, “Chris, outplacement should be more than just reports and placement statistics. Your business should concern itself with how it makes people feel when they are in career transition.” I have never forgotten that feedback. We developed our concept of values from those early conversations.

In 2013, we became aligned with the Outside-In® Companies and we continue to live those early experiences through a set of twenty core values. How do we live those? In a sensitive situation like a reduction-in-force, or targeted elimination of a position, we give our clients piece of mind that we are going to significantly engage with each individual employee affected. That Nth Degree of service is made possible by a business model that does not force professionals through a prescribed program with little possibility for customization. Further, we leverage our entrepreneurial spirit and risk taking behaviors to come up with new pathways for our clients to address challenging career questions and needs. Lastly, we make our entire team available to gain traction and momentum toward the results that are so evidently needed in outplacement – the next career opportunity. Having values certainly does not mean we are perfect. However, it does mean that we have standards and the bar has been set high.

Barton Career Advisors has recently dedicated its industry pieces and blogging to a new series called Two Paragraph Perspectives. There is so much going on in our world and it is often difficult to consume an entire article, thought leadership piece, whitepaper, or news story. Our world communicates at lightning speed and most of that happens in 140 characters or less. For the previously mentioned reasons we will bring you key thoughts, insights, and questions in an easy to consume two paragraph format. Before the steam is finished rising off your morning coffee or tea you will be done reading our bi-weekly digest of all things career transition, personal brand management and outplacement best practices. We hope you are looking forward to this series written by our Founder and Managing Partner, Chris Barton.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Outside-In® Chronicles: Three Things Grandmom Rose Taught Me About Leadership

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photo-2-223x300With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I wanted to revisit this blog about my Grandmom Rose and her significant influence on my leadership style.

My Grandmom Rose was an amazing person. When she was young, she absolutely loved to dance. When she was older, during a time when marrying those of another religion was uncommon, she left her Jewish faith to marry a man of a different one. And for decades, she fought for the underdog through volunteering for the rights and privileges of the blind here in Delaware. She lived to be well over 102—but her wisdom remains infinite. Although Rose died a few years ago, I think of her often. How could I not? Whenever I was sick as a child, Rose played 97 straight games of Candy Land with me. Imagine that. I think she let me win every time, too.

Today, I thought I would share a few thoughts on Rose’s lifestyle that I think translates pretty darn well into reminders for all of us in leadership positions.

1. Have a sense of mindfulness. This is a hard one. Are you centered and focused on the moment or the task at hand? Are you in the meeting you’re in? Or are you messaging others on your cell phone and trying to keep up with the rest of your day? Rose never knew technology and its advantages, but you always knew she was focused on you when you were sitting in front of her. As a leader, are you giving 100% to the team or person in front of you? Or do your distractions show? Does your lack of attention send the message that your time there is not important? Value the face time.

2. Ask valuable questions. If you’re in a sales, leadership, consulting, or frankly any role in life, there is nothing better than the ability to invest in others through asking questions. If you knew Rose she could ask some humdingers. They would just keep coming, too. They were good and stimulating questions. She genuinely cared about you and life—this showed through her investment in you. As a leader, how many times do you catch yourself talking, maybe dulling out general advice because it’s easier and feels good. Certainly easier than asking the style of questions that help people work through their own challenges and opportunities. Staff members want more than answers. They want skills they can use again and again. Does your leadership style involve a healthy sense of curiosity and frequently asking questions? Or are you too busy to lead and simply give out answers just to keep the day moving along?

3. Do one thing at a time. This sounds so…well, impossible in today’s world. Rose was really great about doing one thing at a time. I think she just wouldn’t understand why we think it is a good idea to multi-task to the point of exhaustion. Leaders get that adrenaline rush. Fight that fire. Answer that email. Text that message. All of these are signs of a normal, hectic day. However, before we know it the day is done. Did you accomplish your most important task? Did you finish what you started? It may seem old fashioned, but there is something to working on the hardest thing first and working on it until it is completed. It’s even more impressive if you do so without succumbing to the constant distractions of smart phones, tablets, and laptops!

When I was young, Rose took me to Gino’s for lunch every week for almost a year to collect that week’s plastic NFL football helmet. Each time she would laugh as I would eat one giant burger and then ask for a second one! Rose knew what was important in relationships. She knew what to bother with. If you see me turn off my phone, close my laptop, or shut the door to focus, know that in some small way, it’s my ode to Rose!

Show Me the Money: Why Bringing on a Long-term IT Contractor Isn’t as Pricey as You Think

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By Outside-In® Team Member Zach Werde

Why would you bring on a long-term IT contractor? It’s twice as expensive as hiring someone permanently, right? WRONG! At a glance, it may seem that bringing on a senior contractor may be exponentially more expensive than hiring a permanent resource. The $100k you were looking to spend to hire someone permanently may turn into a $100 per hour charge from your staffing agency after agency markup and accounting for the fact that a contractor will need more money. Holy cow, that’s more than twice as much money over the course of a year if my contractor works 52 weeks at 40 hrs/week! Here’s where I say….hold the phone! Let’s look at the true differences in cost comparing the hiring of a 100k salaried employee through a staffing agency or bringing on a $100/hr contractor for a year through a staffing agency.

If you speak to your HR department, they will confirm that there is something in the neighborhood of a 15% burden to put this person on your payroll and pay the associated taxes, fees, and insurance. Tack on the $3.5k cost per hire that is the national average and that will bring your annual cost up to $118.5k.

Let’s talk about benefits. I’m sure you are aware of the Affordable Care Act. Employer contribution varies incredibly depending on the insurance you offer your employees, but I imagine your HR department will confirm you are spending between $500-$600 per month on healthcare per employee. It could be more depending on the premiums you offer. If your company offers the standard 3% match on 401k, go ahead and tack on another $3k. Do you offer a bonus? Many firms offer 15%-20% based on individual performance and/or company performance. Let’s say you are only at 10% annually for a good employee and you hire another a good person. There’s another 10k for the year. Assuming you don’t offer any other benefits (which I am sure you do), the benefits total another $19k-$20.2k which brings your cost to $137.5k-$138.7k to hire your “$100k” employee.

Don’t forget, if you are working through an agency and want them to find you a permanent resource, they are going to charge a 20% fee, or more. Tack on another $20k. Now your “true” cost for one year to hire a $100k salaried employee through an agency is around $157.5k-$158.7k.

Perhaps you noticed I left PTO out of the benefits conversation. Remember, assuming your organization offers holidays and vacation time, you are paying them for 52 weeks even though they are only working 47 weeks (I’m guessing they have off for 10 holidays, another 10 business days of vacation, and another 5 for personal days). However, for a contractor, you only pay time worked. All other factors aside, if your contractor works 47 weeks out of the year, you aren’t paying him/her for 5 weeks of the year. So, at $100/hr, even if they work 40/hrs per week, that means your total, all inclusive cost for a contractor for the year is $188k. If they work 37.5 hours a week, you’re looking at $176.2k. For sure, they won’t work during your holidays (since you will be closed), and contractors will take time off just like everyone else, they just won’t be paid for it.

That means, looking at the entire picture, you are spending between 11%-19.5% more over the course of 1 year to bring on a year long contractor, instead of hiring a permanent resource. Not exactly double anymore, is it? Obviously, if they stay on less than a year, then it may actually be less expensive to bring the contractor in, although they may be working less.

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.

 

What Would Happen if We Stopped Taking Risks?

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Lets start with the obvious, avoiding taking any risk is actually a pretty serious risk all by itself! This requires us to avoid phone calls and interactions with customers and associates. We need to skip team meetings and duck out of the break room, too. The longer we stand still and stay status quo the more likely we are to fall a step behind or even lose altogether—all while our competitors and peers march forward.

The Outside-In® Companies believe in our value of taking risks. We definitely don’t steer around or away from it, but why does it matter for our employees to live this value? Who really cares anyway? In fact, why should any service company encourage risk taking?

ID-100309958First off, risk taking is really about decision making, the lack of perceived authority, task discretion, and reward for doing so. Employees that do not make decisions often do so because their company’s culture discourages it. This is cultivated through the management team and their practices. This is quite often an unexpected negative outcome of a company that lacks a cultural plan to encourage customer centric actions with those that have direct customer contact.

Employees that don’t make decisions have little or no choice but to get the answer for a customer from those that have the power or information. Usually, the power lies in controlling that information and it is intended to be a business control that simply hedges risk. However, in this case, it kills the customer! This can be because of a lack of training and knowledge or a matter of policy and the preferred hierarchical nature of the company.

Close your eyes and remember when this happened to you, a roommate, someone from your household, etc. Is there anything more frustrating than when you’re on the phone with that utility, or in line at the retail store, or airport and the service associate needs a manager? All you needed was to make a return, change a seat, or get your bill in the correct name. The worst part is that the supervisor does not do anything fancy—they just need a stupid code or a key to take care of your return or to move your flight.

A culture that values its customers empowers and encourages risks that take place in the act of serving a customer!

Employees that are not encouraged to notice what their customers are actually saying and then do something about it are not serving the strategic purposes of the business. The front lines see and hear it all. How many times have you heard a clerk or phone representative say that they have told management about a customer opinion so many times but no one listens. Then their voice trails off and their interest and engagement level wanes day by day! If we listen to customers as employees they will tell you why they are angry about a program or policy change, what is never in the store, when service is slow, or when a product has been replaced that should not have been. We can always hear it as employees.

A culture that values risk taking creates an environment where employees have tools and formats to share what they hear and take action! This is customer centric and systematic cultural risk taking. What did you learn from our marketplace today? What did our customers challenge us with? What do they need and want from us? Ask employees for feedback often, give all employees a format to share, reward this flow of insights, then categorize it and teach what to do with it. Most likely your plan of improvement needs tweaking. Employees just need permission to open their eyes and be empowered to see what needs fixing. Empowerment and the confidence to stand up and share what might be the next product or service that enhances your company’s top line strategy are the keys to grow your business.

Risk taking is a cultural tool to encourage customer centric and entrepreneurial behaviors for all of your employees. You have a choice in your organization; you can either treat employees like leased resources, or you can act and create an environment that encourages entrepreneurial behaviors that enhance your customer’s experience with you.

Go sit and listen to your employees, have Outside-In® eyes and ears, and gather the information you need in order to decide how to encourage risk taking that improves the experience for your customer base. Or come visit our office and see it in action!