Archive for the ‘Workplace Issues’ Category

A Triple Win Strategy to Attract & Retain Your Best Candidates – by Barbara Babkirk, November 6, 2018

Friday, November 2nd, 2018

Job opportunities for the spouse or partner of prospective new hires have increasingly become key to their successful recruitment and retention.

I see this in my business as I’m regularly asked by employers to propose options for effective transition services for “trailing spouses/partners” as a way to win over a prospective candidate.

That should not be surprising given the findings of two major U.S. research institutions that concluded that “partner employment” ranked in the top two considerations of candidates evaluating job offers (among 15 other factors, including salary).

With such high numbers of two income households in our country, it’s more than likely that a relocation candidate has to consider not only his or her own career, but also a spouse’s or partner’s work opportunities in the new location.

Sustaining a certain level of income is often a primary concern of dual-career couples as they consider relocating. When income replacement is a deciding factor, it may not only affect whether or not the candidate accepts an offer, but how long they may stay. No employer likes to loose a newly hired employee because their spouse or partner couldn’t find work.

It stands to reason that employers who consistently offer trailing spouse/partner assistance would attract and retain their top candidates.

So what can make a trailing spouse/partner program a win/win for the employer, prospective candidate and their spouse or partner?

  • A well-defined and easy-to-navigate program that reflects best practice strategies for securing employment.
  • Partnering with a local firm with established Maine contacts and relationships to introduce to the spouse/partner.
  • Engaging career counseling experts to help spouses/partners explore how their skills & experience align with new career opportunities–because, depending on the career field, building careers in Maine sometimes requires creativity and insight.

A final step should be to track the success of the trailing spouse/partner career transition program over time.


Take charge of your professional life by Barbara Babkirk, December 11, 2014

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Far too many people let their careers happen to them.

If you relate to this statement, but hate to admit it, there are steps you can take to shift from a passive to a pro-active approach to your work life.

  • Take stock of what you want from work. Ask yourself if your competencies, interests and values are adequately met in your work and workplace. If not, then consider negotiating another arrangement or a job searc
  • Be mindful of your assumptions about what’s possible. Keep in mind what you want as outcomes, not what you fear might not happen.
  • Understand the professional value you bring to the marketplace and seek out opportunities to communicate it verbally (meetings, performance reviews), virtually (with a great LinkedIn profile) and in writing (effective emails, outstanding resume, crisp cover letters).
  • Stay current with best practices in your field and be innovative in presenting new ideas and practices. Be prepared to communicate your knowledge of trends in interviews or in professional conversations.
  • Consistently attend to your needs. Take time to replenish your energy so you’ll be in good shape to seize the next best opportunity.

How Secure Is Your Job?

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

Does the ongoing talk about the sluggish economy make you wonder if your job is recession-proof? Since job security is passé, you’d be wise to prepare for a range of employment outcomes.

Regardless of your position within your company or organization, you should be thinking about your options in the event of changes at your place of employment. Take the following positive steps instead of dwelling in fear about negative possibilities,

Focus on what you can control: your attitude, your behavior and your response to whatever happens.

1. Update and refine your résumé and professional documents: e.g. references, writing samples, portfolio (when appropriate), and examples of your work.

2. Identify the skills you’ve developed that you enjoy using. Be prepared with examples of times you’ve used each one.

3. Give some thought to other jobs or employers to which your skills would be valuable and transferable.

4. Create a list of contacts with whom you could network for job leads or informational interviewing.

5. Avoid the rumor mill and conversations with colleagues at work that are fear-based and hypothetical. They will only raise your anxiety and contribute to feelings of powerlessness. Check in with your supervisor for answers to questions and concerns.

6. Keep your spirits up and stress levels down through regular exercise, a balanced lifestyle and positive thinking.

When the New Job is Not What You Wanted

Friday, November 18th, 2005

Have you ever found yourself in a new job that sounded perfect during the interview process only to discover it was not what you expected? If you answered yes, many factors may have contributed to your situation. Here are a few scenarios I’ve heard from clients over the years:

1. The employer was not clear about the responsibilities or expectations and you did not ask for a job description before accepting the position. (Next time: Always ask enough questions so you are clear about day to day tasks as well as on which criteria you will be evaluated. Never accept a job without first reviewing a job description.)

2. The person who hired you and to whom you were to report leaves soon after you begin the new job. You don’t like their management style and quit. (Next time: Give the new boss a chance, but know that it is sometimes difficult to work for someone who had no say in your hiring. If you do decide to leave, ask H.R. if there might be any severance offered to you due to the change in circumstances after you were hired.)

3. Several months into the job, you discover what’s most important is missing in the job. It’s not necessarily that your judgment was off in accepting the new job. Sometimes it is the absence of a specific responsibility, opportunity to use a certain skill, or a particular focus of the work that is more important than we realized. In this case, it is only the experience of the loss of it that allows an individual to clarify how important this factor is in his/her work.

(Suggestion: Perhaps sooner than later, you’ll need to move on to another position that more accurately meets your desires and needs. But this time, you’ll know what to look for.)

4. Your co-worker is not cooperative or even friendly, for that matter. Coming into a new work environment can be a challenge, especially if other people have worked together for some time. Sad to say, but not everyone has a welcoming attitude to newcomers and that can make things miserable for them. (Suggestion: Try and take the high road on this one and see if some extra effort on your part can improve things. It may help to make specific overtures to this person, like take them out to lunch, even if you’d rather not. Know your limits and that there may come a time when you’ve done enough and you begin to explore other options within the company.

5. Once inside, you find out that your new company is in financial straits and your coworkers are concerned about losing their jobs and fear permeates the company.When the culture of an organization is taken over by fear, work does not get accomplished in the same way and the spirit and attitudes of employees takes a downward turn. (Suggestion: Begin to look at your options before you get too caught up in the negativity that can be contagious. Next time: Consider the financials of an organization before saying yes to an offer. Speak to the CFO and ask questions about the financial health of the company. Watch his/her body language as they respond. In addition, speak to someone who has recently left for more of the “inside scoop”.)

When Bosses Are Bullies

Thursday, July 14th, 2005

Sometimes I’m shocked when I hear clients talk about their abusive bosses. I wonder how people can get away with such outlandish behavior—isn’t anyone besides the victim noticing? It seems that there’s even a name for this common problem in the workplace: “the bully boss phenomenon”.

Whether the abuse is physical like throwing objects at a person, as in the case of the boss cited in a recent Washington Post article, or psychological, such as continually berating an employee in front of colleagues and clients, the harm done is considerable. To the bullying boss, the immediate result may justify the behavior—after all, the employee seems more compliant and may even seem quicker to respond after the abuse. However the long term impact on the victim can be devastating.

It is not uncommon for employees harassed by bully bosses to require medical and psychological help to deal with the affects of the abuse. Research has shown that this abuse reduces employee productivity and can eventually impact organization’s effectiveness as a whole.

Workplace bullying is an experience that four out of five employees — 23 million people — will deal with at some point during their careers, according to a Wayne State University study. Since it is estimated that 4 out of 5 employees will experience some type of bullying in the workplace during their work histories, we would all benefit from information on what to do about it.

Heart At Work Associates offers career counseling and outplacement services for your life stage in Portland, Maine and globally.

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