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Just Graduate? Here’s What to Do Next (In a Post-COVID 19 World)

If you or someone you loved just graduated in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, this one’s for you.

This May’s college and high school graduates are headed into the worst job market since the Great Depression. It’s an anxious, uncertain, frustrating time.

First, take the time to grieve. You likely didn’t have the graduation ceremony or celebration you expected. Maybe you didn’t have time to say goodbye to friends before quarantining. There’s a lot going on, and a milestone has been abruptly interrupted so take space to process that.

More, now than ever, you’ll have to be (and remain) flexible. Be open to the possibilities tangibly related to your major and past experiences, rather than focusing on one industry or one career path. Look at other lines of work, consider applying what you know already in a new way and use your foundation to expand.

Also, know that your school and your support system has your back – so use them! Reach out to your school’s career center or advisors and look into the tools available to sort through feelings, reactions and next steps. The people around you can help you build a game plan, including some Plan Bs and Plan Cs, so you feel confident moving forward amidst the uncertainty. Some of your community may even know of current opportunities, so don’t be shy in asking around.

You can also use this time to learn new skills, expand your professional development and make new connections. A company or organization may not have any jobs available, but you can still reach out for informational interviews to learn more about someone’s position and even ask how their company is handling the pandemic. Being curious is always a good thing, and networking now may help you out in the long run.

Yes, life is always unpredictable but this is an entirely new reality we have to face. Stay grounded, open and creative as you navigate this next chapter post-graduation.

Photo Courtesy of JD Photography

Do You Know Your Personality Strength? Take the Assessment with HRinMotion!

Self-awareness is crucial to career development and team culture. Understanding how you operate, recognizing what gets your gears turning and learning how you really handle conflict can significantly improve how you work with colleagues and handle situations.

Sure, you may already have an inherent idea of what your strengths and weaknesses are. But taking a personality test (in an unbiased way) opens your eyes to a fresh perspective and sheds light on qualities you haven’t found the words to describe and maybe even qualities you’ve denied having. It’s pretty enlightening.

There are myriad assessments out there: Enneagram, Myers-Briggs, the 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire. The list goes on and on.

Our favorite? The DISC assessment. Developed by psychologist William Moulton Marston, this “test” examines how an individual ranks in the four areas of behavior – Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness.

Organizations that utilize DISC benefit from improved communication, more effective meetings, less conflict, more collaboration, greater productivity, and better results. Whether you’re looking to learn more about yourself or develop leaders or work on conflict management, DISC can be incredibly useful.

When it comes to hiring for your business, personality tests are essential to understanding fit. These assessments won’t glean significant insight into quality of work or job performance, but they will show work ethic and strengths, as well as challenges and fears.

It could help with what team an employee is placed on based on leadership or how you approach the onboarding process. If you find they’re a social butterfly, it could help determine where their desk is placed to ensure a conducive and effective work environment – in this case, probably not next to the kitchen.

Now, we want to be clear: The DISC and other personality assessments don’t offer a full representation in understanding a potential or current employee. There are many nuances to consider that come with being human, but it’s a good place to start.HRinMotion can help you integrate DISC assessments into your HR processes.

Should Your Company Continue to Work From Home?

As states begin to open back up and relax regulations around stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus, many business owners are wondering what the right balance is for themselves and how to approach their own reopening plans.

There is a big chance that COVID-19 will change the future of work. Let’s face it, many people are used to working from home now that they’ve been forced to do it for the past two months — all the while finding how to remain productive, effective and communicative with their teams. There’s also a chance that people almost prefer it now.

It may be time to relax your work from home (WFH) policies. This pandemic is an uncertain, unfamiliar and anxiety-inducing situation — and many people are still weary about heading back into “normal life” too soon. These next few months will require important decisions around:

  • How you distribute information, and what it says about what you’re doing to handle and consider the situation
  • What new measures you’re implementing to ensure the health and safety of employees
  • How you express empathy and understanding for those who are concerned or just not ready to return back to the office yet

As you consider all the options, take the time to evaluate how things are currently going as everyone is working from home. If your team continues this rhythm, are there systems or procedures you could revise? Could you collect everyone’s input on what has and hasn’t worked best for them throughout the past few months? Maybe think about “lessons learned” and apply them to implement a more flexible, but more productive WFH set up for the next few months or a year until things are stable.

Although it depends on your industry, your business will survive if you continue to work from home. There may be a few things to adjust and innovate around, but if you make the effort and make intentional decisions around what is best for your company and employees, everyone can remain safe and healthy.

Unemployment Insurance 101

As nearly 30 million Americans filed for unemployment due to lost jobs or reduced hours amid the coronavirus, many HR departments are in an unfamiliar spot. But this is exactly the kind of situation when unemployment insurance is your saving grace.

When a business is forced to shut their doors for any reason, unemployment insurance provides temporary financial stability for workers (former employees) who no longer have an income. The program also helps to stimulate the economy during a downturn or recession when the unemployment rate typically rises.

This federally mandated and regulated program has been around for a while, but is managed state by state. For example, some states allow eligible recipients to collect benefits for 26 weeks while others allow for 12 weeks. We recommend you dive into your state’s requirements, eligibility and payment amounts to know more.

How does Unemployment Insurance affect you, as an employer?
If your business has employees (from 1 to 100), you are required to pay into your state’s and the federal and state unemployment insurance programs. If you hire independent contractors, this is only applicable for W-2 employees, not 1099. These unemployment insurance taxes fund the pot, so to speak.

How does Unemployment Insurance affect your employees?
Employees do not pay unemployment taxes; It is only the responsibility of the employer. If an employee becomes unemployed and is eligible, they should apply for benefits through their state as soon as possible — but that must be done on their own volition. An employee can only collect unemployment benefits if they are out of work through no fault of their own.

Most of the time, this is a straightforward process for employers and employees alike. However, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the entire program has been flipped upside down. The newly enacted CARES Act, a $2 trillion relief package, extends the duration of unemployment insurance benefits by 13 weeks and increased payments by $600 per week through July 31, 2020.

Regardless of how dire the situation may be, unemployment insurance protects employees when they can’t make ends meet. And employers do their part to make sure the economy and families remain strong.

Efficient Processes Keep this Millennial Happy – Meet Kristi Sellers

NAME: Kristi Sellers

JOB/ PROFESSION: Statistician

TELL THE WORLD ABOUT KRISTI SELLERS!
I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Forensic Crime Scene Investigation and a minor in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Master of Social Work degree from Temple University. I currently work in regulations with the federal government.

YOUR GENERATION DEMOGRAPHIC: 
Millennial (born between 1980 – 1994)

DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE WORKFORCE?
My current experience in the workforce is great, especially when you have the support of management. I have been in positions where I was not supported by management. There was also a lack of training and room for growth within the agency. However, now I have all three, which has helped make my experience more positive.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR POSITION?
I love the flexibility of my current position. As a millennial, we value work, but also personal time to travel and spend time with family and friends. The flexibility of telework and alternative work schedules give me that ability.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN BEING A MILLENNIAL IN THE WORKPLACE?
“Buy-In” is the biggest challenge with being a millennial. Getting Gen X and Baby Boomers to buy into new ways of operating.

WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS MANAGERS AND CEO’S CAN ENERGIZE THEIR EMPLOYEES?
Managers and CEO’s can energize their employees by being open to new ideas and ways of doing things. As a millennial, we believe in working smarter, not harder.

HOW DO YOU SHOW UP FOR YOUR TEAM & ORGANIZATION?
I show up for my team by being a team player. I am always willing to step in and help co-workers and management when necessary. I also show up by consistently bringing new ideas to the table and revamping procedures to make processes more efficient and effective.

WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER GOALS?
To be in a management level position and start a new side business in real estate.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IT MEANS TO BE A “LEGACY-LEADER”?
A legacy leader is not simply someone who is in a managerial or supervisory position, but someone who has positively influenced the agency or organization so that processes run smoothly and efficiently. A legacy leader not only ensures that the mission of the agency/organization is fulfilled, but also ensures that staff has the resources to complete tasks, creates opportunities for advancement and provides flexibility and appropriate compensation. A legacy leader is one whose influence and institutional knowledge remains with agency/organization even after they are gone.

HOW CAN WE KEEP UP WITH YOU KRISTIN?
@kristi_renee

HRINMOTION, LLC Q&A FEATURE: Gen Xer’s Have the Ability to Bridge Workplace Gaps – Meet Patricia Thompson

NAME: Patricia Thompson

JOB/ PROFESSION: Director, Human Resources

TELL THE WORLD ABOUT YOURSELF!
I've been in the HR field for over 15 years primarily working in the hospitality industry and for a short period of time in Operations.   During my career I've had several roles ranging from HR Business Partner, Manager up to Director.  My experience encompasses all aspects of HR to include traditional HR responsibilities such as handling FMLA and Workman's Compensation Claims, Performance Improvement/Management, Personal Development, Recruiting, Hiring and Retention, Employment Law, Conducting Investigations, Team Member Relations and Strategic Planning in support of long and short-term business needs. I hold a Master’s Degree in Christian Studies and a Bachelors in Business Administration with a concentration in Management.

YOUR GENERATION DEMOGRAPHIC: 
I have the distinct pleasure of spearheading the “Gen X” generation demographic – at least according to most charts.

DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE WORKFORCE?
My experience has been overall very rewarding.  The opportunity to impact the lives of others in an honest and professional way gives me great satisfaction.  As an HR professional one of the most important qualities in my opinion is consistency, confidentiality and building trust with your clients and the people you support.   This can be challenging at times when the "business needs" appear to disregard the "needs" of the employees.  However, keeping a level head and balancing the people and business aspect is key during these times.   Over the span of my career I've witnessed unfair treatment of employees in the workforce particularly for promotions and growth opportunities.   Those are the moments when I rely on my faith and integrity to always do the 'right thing' whether my opinion and recommendations are accepted or not.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR POSITION?
Over the years I've found it very gratifying to be in a position to impact those employees who may be challenged in certain areas and after coaching and mentoring seeing them flourish and go forward successfully.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN BEING A “GEN XER”?
I actually believe that my generational demographic (Gen X) provides me with a unique opportunity to swing between the Boomers and the Gen Xer's.   In addition, because my adult children are all millennials, I have a knack for appreciating the wit, quick-thinking and advanced technological abilities of this demographic which I actually view as an asset more than challenge.  However, if I had to decide on a challenge, it would probably be more on the side of trying to better understand and then positively influence the younger millennial who may not always appreciate or respect the wisdom and experience that can be obtained from a Boomer or Gen Xer.  On the same token I think the Boomers can use some assistance in bridging the gap between themselves and the millennial.  At times being a Gen-Xer can feel like being trapped between the two sides.

WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS MANAGERS AND CEO’S CAN ENERGIZE THEIR EMPLOYEES?
Hands down, I believe the best way to energize employees is through trust, recognition and respect.

HOW DO YOU SHOW UP FOR YOUR TEAM & ORGANIZATION?
I show up by being a team player operating in honesty and integrity everyday with the utmost respect and professionalism.  Always being open to new ideas and opportunities.

WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER GOALS?
At this stage of my career I would welcome an opportunity to lead an HR team for a few years and then groom the next great leader.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IT MEANS TO BE A “LEGACY-LEADER”?
A legacy leader leads by example with confidence and tenacity.  Always empowering, mentoring and keeping a keen eye on the next person to fill his or her shoes.

Legacy-Leaders Feature: A World-Changer with a Heart for the Community – Meet Kristin Shymoniak

NAME: Kristin Shymoniak

JOB/ PROFESSION: Student Support Coordinator

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF!
A native of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, Kristin Shymoniak is currently a Student Support Coordinator and Commissioner on the Mayor’s Commission on African American affairs. Kristin has dedicated her life to serving her community. Some of her community activism efforts include being a board member for Black Millennials 4 Flint, a grassroots civil-rights and environmental justice organization; the Darrelle Revis Foundation, a non-profit striving to end childhood hunger; and being a D.C. Commissioner on Mayor Bowser’s Commission on African American Affairs. In addition to being a community leader, Kristin is an educational advocate. She received her Master’s degree in Special Education with a specialization in autism from the University of Pittsburgh. She is currently a Student Support Coordinator in Arlington, Virginia. Kristin is the 2017 AASA and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Women in School Leadership Award recipient and 2019 National Urban League Emerging Leaders Fellow. Kristin is a world changer and has a heart for the community and future generations

YOUR GENERATION DEMOGRAPHIC: 
Millennial (born between 1980 – 1994)

DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE WORKFORCE?
It has been a great learning experience. I have had the opportunity to work with a variety of elementary-age children with varying needs. I have also had the opportunity to use my position as an educator to cultivate and plant seeds in my student’s lives. While as a student support Coordinator, I have the opportunity to work closely with families and help them understand and become comfortable with the special education process.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR POSITION?
I love working with families and seeing parents’ eyes light up when we share their child’s strengths and abilities with them. Often times in special education, a student’s weaknesses are the topic of conversation which can be very discouraging to parents and teams. When we share what a child is capable of accomplishing, it creates a more positive narrative.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN BEING A MILLENNIAL IN THE WORKPLACE?
The stigma of the title! lol Everyone thinks that we (millennials) possess a sense of entitlement and are lazy. It is offensive to me when someone makes those generalizations. I think with every generation, you have the good and the bad apples. I’d like to consider myself one those good apples that defy that stigma.

WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS MANAGERS AND CEO’S CAN ENERGIZE THEIR EMPLOYEES?
– Be present and listen
– Provide incentives to let them know they are valued
– Create opportunities for growth

HOW DO YOU SHOW UP FOR YOUR TEAM & ORGANIZATION?
I make it a priority to be accessible to my teams, allowing them to feel comfortable to approach me with questions or concerns. I try to help my team come to their own solutions using cognitive coaching so that they do not become dependent on me to provide them with solutions. I also provide reinforcement as much as possible to let the team know they are seen, heard, and appreciated.

WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER GOALS?
I plan to work in educational policy or civil rights one day. My passion has always been to advocate for those that are marginalized and in turn teaching them how to advocate for themselves.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IT MEANS TO BE A “LEGACY-LEADER”?
To me, to be a Legacy-Leader means to create positive change and power that transcends generations and grows exponentially. Being a Legacy-Leader means being eternal and being that catalyst that helped create legends.

HOW CAN WE KEEP UP WITH YOU KRISTIN?
IG: Shyshowbob_
Facebook: Kristin Shymoniak
Twitter: shyshowbob_

How to Manipulate Your Workspace to Boost Productivity

As most of the workforce moves to virtual and remote work during COVID-19, we’re getting a rude wake up call for just how much environment shapes productivity and energy.

According to the International WELL Building Institute, workplace design that considers air quality, lighting, views onto nature and the general layout of the interior can significantly impact on health, satisfaction, wellbeing and staff productivity.

Although many of us were thrown into this new, unfamiliar and uncertain territory called “working from home,” there are some things to know (and maybe even change) about your new work space. Check out these tips on how to manipulate your workspace to boost productivity:

1. Lighting: Want to avoid eye strain, headaches, tiredness and stress? Pay attention to the light around your work space — especially if you’re taking a ton of video conferencing calls now. Take advantage of natural lighting as much as possible and introduce adjustable lighting systems if you can.

2. Spark Joy: No one likes working in a drab, boring office! Give yourself inspiration and motivation by bringing live plants into your space, adding pops of colors and posters with inspirational quotes. Whatever it is that puts a little pep in your step.

3. Ergonomics: A poor set up can affect hands, wrists, joints and backs — which can not only cause pain, but long-term health effects. Reduce strain and fatigue by using a laptop or monitor stand so your screen is eye-level. Consider buying an ergonomically- designed mouse or desk chair, as well as rest for your keyboard and feet to make things as natural as possible.

One other big consideration: Distractions. Whether you’re working from home with kids or prone to procrastination, make the changes necessary to limit distractions. Maybe that means you get some noise-cancelling headphones or move your office to a room with a door. Regardless, do what you need to do to help yourself succeed in your new workspace at home.


Photo credit Zapier

Setting Business Goals for 2020: Where to Start

What’s your vision for 2020?

You already set new year resolutions for your personal life, so why not do it for your professional life as well? Since the new year is rapidly approaching, it’s time to create a roadmap for 2020 and create goals that set you and your company up for success.

As a small business owner, here are a few areas to focus on as you set goals for the year ahead:

2) Consider your employees and office culture: Since you’re focused on the bigger picture, take a step back and think about how those working around you are doing. Keeping employees fulfilled is not only important to the bottom line, but it also affects office morale. Set up 1-on-1 meetings to ask what changes they wish to see or look back to staff surveys you’ve conducted. Maybe 2020 will bring new job titles, a more lively office culture or updates to human resource processes. Perhaps there’s an opportunity to offer more flexible hours — it is the way of the future after all.

3) Hone in on your audience:Since you’ll want to set goals that focus on business metrics like revenue and retention, you’ll need to look hard at your customer base — both existing and prospective people that are the bread and butter to your business. When you’ve taken the time to understand your customers better, you can revise your strategies around marketing efforts and sales tactics in the new year.

Once you’ve looked at these three distinct areas and figured out what you’d like to revise, you’ll be much more informed to set realistic goals. Hint: We advise using the S.M.A.R.T system to fine-tune your strategy and trajectory.

One way to hold yourself accountable? Tell people! Share your goals with colleagues, family members, a mentor and tell them to check in every once in a while to see where you’re at and what your next steps are. You’ll thank yourself later.

What to Wear on Your First Day at a New Job

Just like the first day of school, the first day at a new job can be exciting and a little nerve-racking. Maintaining your self-proclaimed “efficiency in Excel” or thinking about the commute is usually at the forefront of your mind, but what you wear is a key detail to successfully stepping into your new career. Here are some tips on what to wear on your first day at a new job:

The Basics
Wearing “Business Casual” attire is always your best bet when starting a new job. Even if the office is more casual (jeans and a t-shirt) or traditional business (suits and high heels), you will fit right in between the mix with a business casual choice. Once you’re clear on the company culture overall, you can adjust your attire, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Secretly you get a small pass on wardrobe as no one expects you to know exactly what to do on your first day anyway.

BEWARE: Even in business casual attire, you can make the mistake of wearing something too tight that can either be unflattering or show a bit too much. When in doubt, go with loose and comfy clothing and do the “fingertip” test (then add 2 more inches) for skirts.

Follow the Clues for Cues
A little tip – if you read this article BEFORE you start your first day and you have a chance to do a “second interview” or somehow get into the office before your official first day, pay attention to what other employees are wearing and model their attire.

A Staple Piece
Business casual is safe but, do not be afraid to add your own flair and “brighten up” your look. A great necklace or piece of jewelry is always a good way to make your first-day outfit “your own”. It’s been said that a unique piece of jewelry, shoes or accessory is always a great conversation starter. If you want to really show off, you can throw the colors of the company into your color/ clothing options.

It’s All in the Details

Fashion Stylist Natalie Sexton says, “Remember that details matter, and it’s often the simple things that pull your look together: a fresh haircut, manicured nails, and a classic makeup look”. We completely agree! Neatness, cleanliness, and tailoring can take your look to the next level and it’s an easy way to show your commitment and desire to represent the company well– even when you’re out of the office on business travel or at a networking event. Your appearance could be the difference between you getting a promotion!

Ultimately, the clothes really do make the man or woman. Fashion guru and life coach Mary Patterson always says, “ Dress how you want to be addressed!”. To many employers, your appearance translates to how you’ll perform in that role. It is also an indicator of how you will represent the company when you are out of the office. If you’re a manager with aspirations to become a CEO, get into the habit of dressing like a CEO now.

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