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Keep Current on Management Thought June 23, 2006

Posted by DGroup in Uncategorized.
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If you are in a management capacity, you need to stay current on the latest trends in management thinking.  Reading the latest management books will help, but even books run a one to three years behind the research.  On the front line of applied management research are the major management consulting firms.  Many offer newsletters, some of which are free for registered subscribers.  I have subscribed to The McKinsey Quarterly for years and highly recommend you do likewise.  What do they write about?  According to the site…

Our goal is to offer new ways of thinking about business management in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. We aim to help business people run their businesses more productively, more competitively, and more creatively.

In a management position, creative problem-solving is rewarded and creativity comes from new ways of thinking.  You need to expose your mind to new ideas.  Newsletter subscriptions are a great time-saving way to stay current in as management thought evolves.

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Indeed.com is indeed worth checking out May 24, 2006

Posted by DGroup in Uncategorized.
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Indeed.com is the perfect job search tool for those weary of search countless employment sites.  Indeed.com brings together listings from CareerBuilder, America’s Job Bank, Craig’s List, various newspapers, and several freelance sites. To make it even more useful, you can search by city, state or zip code as well as by specific jobs.  Indeed.com even gives you the ability to get RSS feeds on your specific search criteria.  It’s indeed worth a try.  Sorry for the pun.

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Bad credit could affect employment chances April 25, 2006

Posted by DGroup in Career and Job, Interviewing Skills, Policies, Resumes.
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For some, bad credit could affect your chance of getting the job, depending on the nature of the job. Employers are increasingly checking credit reports according to a recent survey by the Society of Human Resource Management, 35% in 2004 up from 19% in 1996 according to Laura Morsch of CareerBuilders.com.

The chance your credit will be checked depends on whether you handle money in the position. Senior and middle level executives are more likely to have a credit check since they are in a fiduciary position with the company. So what does your credit report tell your future employer? Annual credit reports are now free through the Federal Trade Commission’s website. The FTC began rolling out the free annual credit reports last year.

To access your free credit report, visit the FTC’s websites at www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228. Each of the nation’s consumer reporting companies- Equifax, Experian, and Transunion – are required to provide you with a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months.

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GM’s employee blog builds trust April 21, 2006

Posted by DGroup in Career and Job, Corporate Culture.
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Steve Rubel of Micro Persuasions pointed out GM's new employee-centric blog.  According to the FYI Blog, the site's purpose is to provide

an opportunity for all GM employees to contribute in one way or another. Our hope is that this will be an effective way to spread the conversation about GM; that we can continue to get better at listening and maintaining the dialogue, and ultimately, create products and services that not only meet your needs but are truly the best.

This is an excellent way for GM to open the lines of communications and build trust as it faces challenges ahead.  If your organization is undergoing restructuring, consider suggesting ways to open communications.

FYI Blog

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Is blogging good for your career? April 21, 2006

Posted by DGroup in Career and Job, Networking.
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According to the Boston.com, Blogs are "essential" to your career. No doubt in some professions / careers a blog can help one establish credibility and increased exposure. But likewise they can be used to disqualify potential applicants. Blogs say a lot about the individual, giving the potential employer a glimpse into the thinking of the applicant. The prospective employer may not agree with the views expressed in the blog or may feel its to much of a liability to have the company associated with a high profiled blogger if their activities are questionable. Blogging definitely has its place in helping establish expertise in a given field, but it's not suited for all career choices.

Blogs 'essential' to a good career – The Boston Globe

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Clarifying the Job Offer April 21, 2006

Posted by DGroup in Benefits, Salaries.
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There are certain times in an individual's career in which you have the opportunity to significantly improve your salary. Changeing careers or accepting a promotion are certainly two of the best opportunities to negotiate a better salary contract. From a negotiating standpoint, a potential new employee with sought after skills has the most leverage BEFORE starting the job. So what should be negotiated? Consider the following:

  • Salary
  • Working Environment
  • Travel Requirements
  • Reporting Date
  • Title
  • Time Off Work
  • Benefits
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Relocation Expenses

These are just some factors to consider in negotiating. But even if you're successful in getting most of what you want, one of the biggest mistakes is not having all of the agreed upon terms and conditions in writing. The basic rule of human resources is "if it's not in writing, it didn't happen." So even if your superior verbally agrees, the burden of proof will rest on the employee to enforce the contract. Most superiors will honor verbally agreed upon contract terms, but what happens if the superior leaves? The new superior may not honor those verbal agreements and, since its unwritten, will not be obligated to abide by them unless you can prove otherwise. So push for a written agreement in your negotiations.

Even a written agreement is not enough to protect you if it is vague. While you and your current superior may understand the meaning of words or terms in your agreement, your new superior may not. Their interpretation may differ. Here are two suggestions for improving your contracts clarity: First, consider every way a particular provision can be misinterpreted. And second, give it to a third-party to review. Ask them to question it openly and honestly. If there is something they don't understand, then clarify it. Don't defend the agreement provisions and terms. Trying explaining to the third-party what they mean and once understanding is achieved, then incorporate the clear provision in the agreement.

GotVMail Communications

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Negotiate for Cost-of-Living Adjustments April 19, 2006

Posted by DGroup in Uncategorized.
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For almost two decades now, inflation has been declining. No longer is it an issue in salary negotiations. But the current rise in energy prices is reminiscence of the 1970s when a five fold increase in the price of oil gripped the nation. What followed was seven years of rising inflation. It took nearly 20 years to work off the inflation of the 1970s but the impact in the meantime was devastating on corporate salaries. Those on fixed incomes and salaries suffered the most. Will the energy crises of the 00's be any different? If not, then rising prices can be expected for the years to come. If you are negotiating a salary for your career, be sure to negotiate a cost of living adjustment. It may not be a issue now, but your best bargain position is when starting a new career or being promoted. So press forward now while you can. You will be in a great position for years to come. Don't rely on annual increases. They are not guaranteed.

Interviewing the Employer April 19, 2006

Posted by DGroup in Corporate Culture, Interviewing Skills, Policies.
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Notice the title of this post.  Employer is not a typo.  Most think of interviewing as solely the responsibility of the employer.  The applicant simply answers questions or defends their qualifications.  If they are successful then hopefully a job offer will follow.  But perhaps, the worst thing that can happen is a job offer! 

An applicant should interview the prospective employer as well.  But interview for what, you might ask?  The purpose of such an interview is to determine if you will fit into the organizational.  I don't mean you whether you can do the job.  I mean does the organization value what you value.  If you place a value on education and family, what is the organization's policies regarding tuition reimbursement?  How understand are they to employees returning to school to finish a degree or get a Masters?  Are companies policies family-oriented?  Is family leave paid or unpaid?  Look beyond the written policies for behaviors that reinforces what you value in an organization.

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Organizational Fit April 19, 2006

Posted by DGroup in Corporate Culture, Interviewing Skills.
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Job applicants seldom give much thought to how well they fit their prospective employer. Interviewees prepare well to talk about their qualifications, past experiences, achievements, etc. However, the HR manager or whomever is conducting the interview has probably already screened the applicants for job skills. Certainly, qualifications need to be reviewed. But the interviewer will have spoken with several highly qualified applicants throughout the process. When it comes time to make the final decision on who to hire or who to promote, more often than not preferenence will be given to the applicant who best "fits" the organization provided all else is equal.

To take it or leave it? April 2, 2006

Posted by DGroup in Salaries.
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Corporate downsizing forces us to make difficult career choices. General Motors and Delphi workers face just such a choice ahead. To take the buy out offer or stay with the organization. When changing careers, opportunity cost are often the most overlooked. Opportunity cost is the cost of the next best alternative given up.

Let’s look at the risk and oportunity cost of each alternative. If you’re affected by the buyout, one alternative is to do nothing and leave the money on the table. For a 113,000 General Motors and 13,000 Delphi workers, the cost is between $35,000 and $140,000 depending of employment tenure and desire to keep health benefits. It appears this is money over and above what workers would receive from the pension lump sums. But this isn’t the only cost. One must ask what other career opportunities are you giving up? If you want to change careers then the buyout offer can provide financing for a transition period. However, what if you want to continue in your field? Then the decision gets more difficult. If you stay, not only do you forgo the buyout offer but you run the risk of future downsizings with a less attractive buyout package, if any, at all.

Research shows that organizations which downsize continue to downsize. Rarely is it a one time event. Downsizing begets more downsizing. So future cutbacks can be expected. Ask yourself, will GM or Delphi have more or less cash in the future? If you think more, then it may be worth hanging in there for a turnaround, especially if you’re close to retirement. But if you think less, then consider what you’re giving up. Not only the buyout offer, but also the chance to continue in your field. The automotive industry is booming in the south with several new plants opening in recent years. So the opportunity cost is the cost of loss income from not continuing in a high-wage industry like autos. Furthermore, the cost of living is usually lower. Career choices are never easy.

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