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Echo Global Logistics, Inc., a leading provider of technology-enabled transportation and supply chain management services, announced today the appointment of Cheryl Johnson to the post of Senior Vice President of Talent. Ms. Johnson holds more than 16 years of progressive HR industry experience, which includes several executive-level appointments.

Ms. Johnson previously led talent management for retail chain Ulta Cosmetics. Prior to her time with Ulta, Ms. Johnson served as Divisional Vice President of Strategic Talent Management for Sears Holding Company and also spent time as Vice President of Human Resources for Fossil Inc.

 

If you love your job, don’t read this.

We wouldn’t want to tempt you with our great  new job opportunities 

Wednesday
Oct222014

Mediating When Communication Breaks Down Between Coworkers

By Dianna Booher, Huffington Post Contributor

When coworkers are caught in conflict, do you know how to re-open the lines of communication without getting trapped in the fallout? Do you care—or do you just stay clear? As a leader, here’s what you can do to help minimize the grumbling, reduce the stress, and resolve the issue:

Avoid taking sides and talking the opposition over to the other viewpoint. Work with both individuals from the very beginning. You may decide to meet with both people together or separately. If you meet with them separately, make sure both understand that what they share with you may not necessarily be withheld from the other person. You may need to use that information to verify and clarify with the other person. If you don’t warn them upfront, they may think you’re “breaking their confidence.”

Interview the bystanders. You can only make sense of someone else’s conflict when armed with unbiased versions of events and circumstances. Casually observe how “innocent bystanders” react to the situation. What do they have to say about the issues? Be careful, of course, that you don’t just collect the data that was passed on to them from the other people directly involved. Just probe for what they’ve observed first-hand. Identify facts, assumptions, and feelings. They all count.

Handle the PR. If you can pass on complimentary remarks from one person to the other, do so. If not, you may have to dig into the past to find these gems. “Jerry, Antonio does respect your work. If you recall, last quarter he asked to be assigned to your team on the Bilcox project.” The purpose is to help them recall their past good relationship (if that’s been the case.) Sharing positive remarks adds credence to other things the person says. If someone is willing to confirm the good, chances are they’ll likely be honest—as they see it—about the current problem.

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Tuesday
Oct212014

Be open and honest

By Naphtali Hoff, Smartblogs Contributor

“To be persuasive, we must be believable; to be believable, we must be credible; to be credible, we must be truthful.” ~ Edward R. Murrow

One of the hardest talks that I had to give took place right before the beginning of my third year as head of school. It was at the back-to-school full faculty meeting and I needed to clear the air about an issue that was on many people’s minds.

The issue was me. Not that I necessarily did anything so terrible that required addressing. But I knew that our insular, largely veteran faculty was still struggling with the transition from their previous boss and the relatively new style of leadership that I represented. My message was simple and direct. I validated the feelings of those who continued to pine for a bygone era and let them know that I was prepared to do whatever I could to ensure the smoothest pathway forward.

After the talk, a veteran teacher approached me. He thanked me for my words and told me that I had said what needed to be said to acknowledge and validate. It was now time to move on to what we needed to achieve. And we achieved quite a bit that year, perhaps more than my previous two years combined.

The ability to take an honest look at a situation and take the necessary steps to rectify it — even if it means admitting error and/or acknowledging weakness – is crucial for leader effectiveness. Frequently, however, we see just the opposite occur. In many instances, our first response is to deny problems or mistakes or conjure up excuses to justify their occurrence. Nobody wants to appear as foolish or ill-informed. This is particularly true of leaders, who tend to feel that they must always act justifiably or lose credibility.

Fans of the 1970s sitcom “Happy Days” fondly remember the heroics and antics of Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli. Fonzie was the quintessential cool guy, and always seemed to show up at the right time to save Richie and friends from trouble. But even the great Fonzie made mistakes, and when he did, he demonstrated a deep inability to admit his errors. The first two words, “I was,” came out without issue. When he reached the key descriptor, “wrong,” his face became contorted and pained. Try as he might (and he did try), the Fonz simply could not proclaim error. “I was wrrr-rrr-rrr” was as far as it went. Through comic relief, Fonzie exemplified a human weakness that is oftentimes expressed most deeply by those in positions of leadership and perceived strength.

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Monday
Oct202014

Take this self-test on your readiness to lead

By Wally Bock, Three Star Leadership

Is leadership for you?

The most important thing to figure out is whether you will like the kind of work you will be doing. Being a positional leader means having responsibility for the performance of a group. That’s different work from anything else you’ve done. If you like the work, you’re more likely to be happy and successful. If you don’t, every day will be a struggle. That’s important because, in most organizations, if you choose to be “promoted” there’s no going back. These three questions aren’t about skills. We can teach you skills. What we can’t teach you is aptitude and mindset.

Do you like helping other people succeed?

That’s what leaders should do. If you like doing it, you’re more likely to enjoy a leadership role and to be successful in it. If you don’t enjoy it, being a leader will be hard and frustrating for you. There’s a bonus, too. You’re evaluated based on the performance of the group. Their success is your success, so helping the team and team members succeed is good for you, too.

Are you willing to talk to people about their performance or behavior?

If you’re responsible for the performance of a group, it’s your job to make sure that everyone is pulling their weight. If they’re not, you need to talk to them about the situation and then work out a solution. These conversations can be hard, but they’re easier and more likely to end well if you have the conversation as soon as you notice an issue. If the thought of talking to someone about poor performance paralyzes you, you will probably wait until you screw up your courage. By then the conversation may be harder. The longer you wait, the harder it will get. If you’re willing to talk to others about performance and behavior, you can learn how to increase the odds of a successful outcome. Otherwise, the work of a leader will be very hard for you.

Are you willing to make a decision and live with it?

If you’re responsible for the performance of a group, a lot of bucks stop with you. If you have trouble making decisions, every decision will make your job uncomfortable. If you’re willing to make the decisions appropriate for your job, you can learn how to make better decisions, but you can’t learn to be willing to decide.

Why these questions matter

If you’re responsible for the performance of a group, these questions are about the work, the things you have to do every day. Forget about the salary and the benefits and the prestige and the perks. If you enjoy the work, you’ve got a shot at being a great leader.

Friday
Oct172014

The Crappy Job Badge of Honor

By Tim Sackett, The Tim Sackett Project

As some of you may have realized from recent posts (Wanted: People Who Aren’t Stupid), I’ve been interviewing candidates recently for the position of Technical Recruiter working for my company HRU. I love interviewing because each time I interview I think I’ve discovered a better way to do it, or something new I should be looking for, and this most recent round of interviews is no different.  Like most HR/Talent Pros I’m always interested in quality work/co-op/internship experience – let’s face it, it’s been drilled into us – past performance/actions will predict future performance/actions.  So, we tend to get excited over seeing a candidate that has experience from a great company or competitor – we’re intrigued to know how the other side lives and our inquisitive nature begs us to dig in.

What I’ve found over the past 20 years of interviewing is that while I love talking to people that worked at really great companies – I hire more people that have worked at really bad companies.  You see, while you learn some really good stuff working for great companies – I think people actually learn more working for really crappy companies!  Working at a really great companies gives you an opportunity to work in “Utopia” – you get to see how things are suppose to work, how people are suppose to work together, how it a perfect world it all fits together.  The reality is – we don’t work Utopia (at least the majority of us) we work in organizations that are less than perfect, and some of us actually work in down right horrible companies. Those who work in horrible companies and survive – tend to better hires – they have battle scars and street smarts.

So, why everyone wants to get out of really bad companies (and I don’t blame them) there is actually a few things you learn from those experiences:

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Thursday
Oct162014

4 Simple Resume Tweaks That Will Rock Your Results

By Mindy Thomas, All Business Experts Contributor

Everywhere you look these days there are articles, blogs, and online resources with tips and tricks to improve your resume. How in the world can you determine  what advice to trust – and, more important, what advice actually works?

Even for a resume writer like myself, it’s challenging to keep up. But, that’s what I love about working in this industry. We are always learning how to boost our clients’ success at landing a job interview. Attending seminars and conferences, in addition to, networking with recruiters are some of the ways professional resume writers hone their skills and keep relevant on the latest career-related techniques.

Following are a couple of ways to help you perfect your resume results:

  • Generally speaking, allow one page of resume for every ten years. I know it’s hard to fit it all in, but the resume is an overview of your career. Many job seekers continue to create a biography with every blessed detail of every position they ever held. This is definitely not a good game plan. More importantly, this overkill strategy of writing a “thesis” for a resume, instead of an overview of your background, simply does not work. In fact, it’s one of the major reasons why job hunters receive zilch responses to their resume.
  • If you want to really rock your results, pay close attention to the job posting and position requirements. I cannot emphasize this enough. Read that job posting line by line, word by word. It’s sort of like reading a recipe. Look closely at every word that’s on the posting and analyze the specific needs for the role. Just last night, my daughter (who is not a college grad) sent me a posting and said, “Mom, they say in the posting that they prefer a college grad but it’s not a requirement.”  See where I’m going? I think what is also an essential element is reading between the lines to determine what other skills might be advantageous. The absolute mission of your resume is to land you an interview, so make sure you don’t go overboard with an excessive number of pages or too much detail. Your resume is not a biography, so don’t overload your reader. Think and write succinctly.

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Wednesday
Oct152014

Education, baristas and employee turnover

That Howard Schultz guy is one smart cookie with his impressive decision to offer financial assistance to employees for online courses at Arizona State University. Even if employees don’t take up his offer, I’d wager morale and workmanship will improve.

But first, some context. Work in the fast-food industry is mostly part time with few educational or pre-existing skills needed. The proportion of workers in the fast-food industry who are under age 20 is six times the rate for all workers. The work is considered unskilled, although specific training on food preparation, sanitation, and cash handling is taught after hire. (Incidentally, Starbucks considers its employees a step up from fast-food, and they might be, but I’d venture to say the source demographics are roughly the same.)

Fast-food work is generally considered to be front-line, meaning workers are in view of or have direct contact with customers. Fast-food restaurant owners look for potential employees who are neat and can exhibit natural rapport with customers. Room for advancement in the industry is typically limited to those workers with college degrees. Employment outlook is good, with a projection of 10% growth by 2018.

Training costs for fast-food workers in the U.S. are upwards of $10 billion per year (that’s a lot of hamburgers). Top that with turnover rates of over 80% and sometimes over 100% and business leaders are hot, hot, hot, for change. But, most don’t do anything. They plod along, developing more systems and training programs, ultimately giving employees one option: “I can quit this crummy job for another crummy job.”

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Tuesday
Oct142014

Is a Dress Code Needed for an Exceptional Performance?

By John Scott, Customer Success Manager at PerformYard

Golf is a game of stretch goals. While some of these are fairly common, such as scoring a birdie, others are more elusive. The most famous of these white whale goals is the hole-in-one.

Imagine, then, being able a check a hole-in-one off of your golfing bucket list, and doing so in Scotland at the home of golf, St. Andrew’s. For many golfers, it’s the stuff of dreams. 

For my friend Scott, it was a dream that became a reality last April. However, what made Scott’s experience unique was that he was wearing jeans, which is a well-known violation of golf’s widely accepted dress code, especially in the game’s birthplace.

Shortly afterwards, Scott shared a photo of his exciting achievement on social media, as is customary. Interestingly, while some folks that commented congratulated him and shared their excitement, there were others that focused solely on his choice of clothing. By focusing on the fact that he was wearing jeans, they lost track of the fact that he had done something exceptional.

Taking this story to the business world makes for an interesting discussion. Of course, achievement is everyone’s top priority. If performance and formal dress were mutually exclusive, everyone would choose success. Historically, though, the assumption is just the opposite – you have to dress for success.

Scott’s achievement is one such exception to that rule, but others are picking up on the fact that skill and achievement aren’t dictated by what you wear. Notably, HR consultant Sharon Lauby recently argued that you shouldn’t recruit based on attire. Illustrating this point, the White House announced in August that their coders are no longer required to wear a tie to work.

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Monday
Oct132014

You Need to Stop Going Through the Motions on Exit Interviews

By Deborah J. Muller is the CEO of HR Acuity, Aticle Originally Posted on tlnt.com
 

The exit interview — Has it become one of those going through the motions actions in your organization? –just another box to check off in a folder before you give the latest employee the old heave-ho?

It shouldn’t be. Despite their inherent awkwardness, exit interviews are becoming even more common (due to the shortening duration of most employee relationships) and can be very valuable from a risk management standpoint (not to mention keeping your brand as intact as possible during layoffs, terminations and difficult transitions).

Although exit interviews represent several opportunities for both parties, exiting employees are very often reluctant to divulge honest information about their experience with the organization. 

Making exit interviews count

Leaving employees who choose to participate in an exit interview tend to stay very general with their responses in order to fireproof their bridges with the organization.

No employee wants to burn a bridge with their organization for the purpose of references in their job hunt, and the chance that they may one day come back to the company. Additionally, individual relationships are important to keep intact for future connections within a given industry.

To recap: Exit interviews are valuable, manage risk, and, HR has to conduct them. So, why not make them count?

And remember, no one is an expert at exit interview — except an expert in exit interviews.

The biggest reason that exit interviews end up being an ineffective process is that no one really knows what they’re doing beyond getting through your average exit interview checklist. The exit interview represents the chance to collect information that safeguards the organization from employment litigation, increases engagement and reduces turnover, but that is rarely what happens.

One fifth (20 percent) of employees who voluntarily left their organization did so because their work was too boring. This is a common issue that is fixable and could affect future talent, but unless the interviewer knows what questions to ask, the issue will continue and cause more turnover.

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Friday
Oct102014

Six Quick Mediation Tips To Help Others Work Through a Conflict

By Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro

In any group greater than two people, you’ll inevitably have conflict. (Even two people may prove one too many on some issues.) So it should come as no surprise that your team members will occasionally rub each other the wrong way, resulting in conflicts that come to you for resolution.

In most cases, you can all sit down and reach a reasonable agreement after a little give-and-take discussion—assuming everyone wants to work it out. Or, if the disagreement seems petty, you can just make a quick decision and tell everyone to get back to work. But some conflicts are too deep-rooted or antagonistic to dismiss so easily.

In those situations, you’ll need a set of mediation tools you can quickly pick up and put to work on the issue. They don’t work for every situation, but I find the following tips help me clear up most conflicts between others, in business and in life:

1. Research the issue. Don’t go into the situation blindly. Know the basic situation and have some idea of how you can clear the roadblock, based on how others have handled similar situations inside and outside your organization. If you don’t have much mediation experience, brush up on the basics before you get started. Consult a more experienced colleague or an expert if necessary.

2. Meet with the conflicting parties separately. Interestingly, some mediation experts say never to do this, because they claim it generates mistrust. Others insist it’s necessary to get each person’s side of the story, which I tend to agree with. But if this step makes you uncomfortable, or you feel it will make the situation worse, you can skip it.

3. Meet with the conflicting parties together. One at a time, ask each person or party to present their side of the issue, assuring them they can do so uninterrupted. Enforce that promise, even if one of the others tries to break in. Once everyone has presented their cases, summarize the situation as you understand it. Ask what each person specifically wants from the other(s) to resolve the conflict.

4. Investigate the reliability of the parties involved. Double-check the information you’ve received. Research the incidents mentioned by the parties, probe their allegations, and if necessary, ask other co-workers or involved parties privately about the incident. Consider the reputations of each person involved, taking their previous actions and conflicts into account. All this may give you a handle on the situation that will let you resolve it more quickly. For example, professional mediator Jeffrey Krivis once short-circuited a potentially explosive sexual harassment case when he found convincing evidence that the relationship was actually consensual.

5. Consider what you’ve learned. Think deeply and thoroughly about what your investigations and interviews with the conflicting parties have revealed. Don’t take too long, but do give yourself long enough for the information to percolate through your subconscious. You might find a way to render a decision at that point.

6. Forge an agreement. If you can hammer out a solution at this point, great. If not, at least try to get the parties to agree to further negotiation so you can put the situation behind you as cleanly and as quickly as possible. Repeat as necessary.

Calling for Backup

You can handle relatively minor situations quickly and fairly with the process I’ve described here, especially when dealing with issues that boil down to personality clashes or spats over resources. If it doesn’t quickly produce results, however, don’t hesitate to call in a mediation expert, which will be less expensive in the end, since you can’t umpire disputes full-time.

Regardless of how you decide to handle an intervention, act immediately. Never let the problem fester. If you do, it may affect your entire team, dragging others in and forcing them to take sides. The longer you wait, the more work it will take to fix the problem. So when co-worker friction stars putting off smoke, step in and deal with it right away—before it ignites a fire you can’t handle.

Thursday
Oct092014

The Biggest Mistakes I See on Resumes, and How to Correct Them

By Laszlo Bock, SVP, People Operations at Google- Article originally posted on LinkedIn

I’ve sent out hundreds of resumes over my career, applying for just about every kind of job. I’ve personally reviewed more than 20,000 resumes. And at Google we sometimes get more than 50,000 resumes in a single week.

I have seen A LOT of resumes.

Some are brilliant, most are just ok, many are disasters. The toughest part is that for 15 years, I’ve continued to see the same mistakes made again and again by candidates, any one of which can eliminate them from consideration for a job. What’s most depressing is that I can tell from the resumes that many of these are good, even great, people. But in a fiercely competitive labor market, hiring managers don’t need to compromise on quality. All it takes is one small mistake and a manager will reject an otherwise interesting candidate.

I know this is well-worn ground on LinkedIn, but I’m starting here because — I promise you — more than half of you have at least one of these mistakes on your resume. And I’d much rather see folks win jobs than get passed over.

In the interest of helping more candidates make it past that first resume screen, here are the five biggest mistakes I see on resumes.

Mistake 1: Typos. This one seems obvious, but it happens again and again. A 2013 CareerBuilder survey found that 58% of resumes have typos.

In fact, people who tweak their resumes the most carefully can be especially vulnerable to this kind of error, because they often result from going back again and again to fine tune their resumes just one last time. And in doing so, a subject and verb suddenly don’t match up, or a period is left in the wrong place, or a set of dates gets knocked out of alignment. I see this in MBA resumes all the time. Typos are deadly because employers interpret them as a lack of detail-orientation, as a failure to care about quality. The fix?

Read your resume from bottom to top: reversing the normal order helps you focus on each line in isolation. Or have someone else proofread closely for you.

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