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Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

Are you ready for a new job?

Recently I had the opportunity to share some of my thoughts on the ethics of job hunting. Who knew there was any such thing? Kidding! Click below to check out my interview with BusinessWeek Online. Comments and questions are always welcome.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Mentally Checked Out Employee

Do you know a Mentally Checked Out employee? My guess is that you probably know quite a few. You may even be that employee. As a headhuntress, I come across this species quite often. Checked Out Employees (let’s call them COE’s) are pretty easy to identify and are becoming more and more common. Here are a few variations of the COE (and keep in mind there are cross-breeds):

The Disappearing Act – To this COE, lunch is code for 2 free hours to vanish
The Time Challenged – Funny how this person’s clock runs late in the morning, but come the end of the day, it runs early
The Master of Verbal Illusion – By populating workplace conversation with vague phrases like “It will be done soon” and “I’m still working on it,” the COE gives the impression of doing work
The “What Not to Wear” candidate – For this COE, Casual Fridays are an everyday event
The Roamer – This employee stealthily roams the work area looking to ensnare others into chitchat
The Smurfer – This COE is constantly clicking as soon as anyone comes near; but it’s really the back button being hit after visiting their favorite websites

Laugh, but mentally checked out employees are a serious cause for concern in corporate America. According to a recent poll in the Gallup Management Journal, 56% of respondents claimed to be “disengaged” or not involved in their work. These are the people who have by most standards quit their job, but continue to sit at their desk everyday and collect a paycheck.

And here’s the killer: Management often notices the mediocre behavior, but keeps the COE on the payroll. In fact, some managers are even intimidated by them. I say, “Get with it!” Are they waiting for the COE to change by osmosis or are they trying to avoid confrontation? Or, does the bogus threat of a lawsuit loom?

Having to make change is uncomfortable for most people. They fear change to their lives. Here, straight from the Queen of Change, (as I am often referred to by my friends), are some ideas on managing the Mentally Checked Out employee:

Inquire - Find out what they need to regain their “rock star” status. Be positive and refrain from telling them they are sucking the energy out of everyone. Be frank about their sub-par performance and try to get to the root of the problem. Reassure them that their contributions are appreciated and that you are willing to work with them, but not cover for them.

Offer Positive Challenges – Provide inspiration by giving the COE an assignment that is different from their daily work and showcases their value. Being checked-out may be a sign that the employee was getting stale with the same old-same old...and quite honestly, who of any creativity and critical thinking power, wouldn’t.

Be engaging yourself – Yes, you! As a manager, keep the door open to communicating with your employees. Twenty-four percent of all U.S. employees stated that they would fire their boss if they had the chance. (GMJ) You don’t want to create an “us versus them” atmosphere. By fostering two-way dialogue, employees are more apt to tell you something is amiss, rather than waiting to write it in their resignation letter.

Be ready to pull the plug – We all hate this part, but the reality is, if all else fails you need to give a written warning. (Be sure to follow your companies policies and procedures for disciplinary actions) Some people just lose their edge. Disengaged employees bring down others and their attitude can be contagious. You’ve got to nip this problem in the bud before you have a small epidemic. Warnings can jumpstart performance or send them jumping for the door. Either way, it is better than continuing to tolerate negative behavior.

I would love to hear your thoughts about checked out employees, or how you’ve dealt with these situations. Please feel free to comment and stay tuned for our next installment of “The Checked Out, The Burnt Out and The Disengaged.” (Real life - not a mini series)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Meet the HeadHuntress

For over 20 years I have been in executive search and recruitment. Believe me when I say I am never bored. Some days I am a leader, other days I am a headshrinker and then there are my teacher days. I am heroine to many of my candidates (and I hope to my child) and other days I am a kick-ass business woman, especially to legal departments that write unreasonable contracts which put pressure on the great relationships I have with my long-term clients. What I love about what I do, what I am passionate about, is guiding people through the constantly evolving job market and enabling them to achieve personal success within their career. I have an innate ability for this… of this I am sure. I am a HeadHuntress and these are my stories, insights, and lessons.

I often ask myself how I ended up here. It’s a question I pose to all potential clients, candidates, employees, and, yes, even lovers. It is a curious and wonderful question to gain perspective on people. Sometime the most interesting part is how the question is interpreted. Does the journey start with personal choices or professional ones?

The professional path is the easier avenue for me as it is where I have made my best decisions. As for the personal—while it may be entertaining reading that I have two ex- husbands and am a middle child -- for my introduction let’s focus on business.

Many believe that what you do in life is a reflection of your greater purpose. I’ve been told I am here to teach people to accept and not fear change. That would make sense for someone who is a headhunter, recruiter, whatever term you choose. My family and friends refer to me as the Queen of Change. Change is good and I am living proof.

In Diary of a HeadHuntress, I am offering a perspective to those who are seeking change – whether moving within the corporate world, or considering other options; those who need to decide whether it’s time to say adios to the corporate track and those who need to assess whether they have the guts and stamina to be an entrepreneur. This blog will also provide an honest reality check for employers that talk about retaining top talent, but are lost about incorporating outlets for creativity and autonomy. And, there is no disguising my thoughts about managing as a single working mother. It’s all part of who I am ...and my success.

If you are looking to advance your career or just be happy in the working world, if the lottery hasn’t worked and the trust fund is still years away, stick around. I see real life at its best and worst every day- some of it is unbelievable.

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