Invest in Social Capital and Reap High Returns

4 Strategies Not to be Ignored

Naturally, forging relationships, making connections, and networking are essential to successful business. Positive bonds made between employer and employee, between company and customer, and between people in the industries are crucial to the inner workings of successful companies.

Social capital, the relationships among employees and groups is as indispensable as the financial capital needed to run your business. Maybe even more so.

Social capital is KEY to running a successful company.
 Social capital is KEY to running a successful company.

Executives, managers and employees alike should monitor and guard social capital carefully, as they would any other asset.

In their book from Harvard Business School Press, Don Cohen and Lawrence Prusak explain why social capital is so important: “Social capital exists in every organization, but in widely varying amounts. It can be depleted or enhanced, squandered or invested in.” Their book, In Good Company: How Social Capital Makes Organizations Work, makes the argument that social capital generates economic returns and, without social capital, organizations simply cannot function. The economic returns of protecting social capital include better knowledge sharing, lower transaction costs, low turnover rates, and greater coherence of action.

The research is hard to argue with; if I’ve learned anything in my years of matching high-level professionals to successful companies, I’ve learned that people factor of business can be the volatile X factor in a company’s success.

A study by Joris J. Ebbers published in Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, quantified that “entrepreneurs that spend more time on networking activities are more likely to identify potential alliance partners.” It’s true that the more connected you are, the more you’ll reap the benefits of your network.

So, before you leave your new job, tell off an annoying co-worker, or simply not do your very best, realize this: just like a Charles Dickens’ novel, minor characters in your life will resurface and could play a major role in your success or stagnation.

That guy you made fun of in an email and accidentally hit “send to all”? He’s now in Human Resources at the company where you’re applying.

And, the woman you called incompetent in a meeting? She now makes the purchasing decisions for a prospective client.

Employers, managers, take note: your reputation follows you through every employee who walks out your doors. Don’t be the joke of your industry because you are eternally hiring. Stop hemorrhaging talent by figuring out what’s broken in your organization and fixing it.

 

Make a Fabulous Last Impression

 

Conventional wisdom tells us you never get a second chance to make a first impression. (Or was that just a dandruff shampoo commercial?) But advice just as important is to make a great last impression. Why? Because last impressions matter.

Last impressions aren’t usually the last interaction you’ll have. In business circles where it’s all about networking and contact and who knows who, last impressions are the impressions that stick.

Whether you’re an employee who’s been laid-off or leaving for greener pastures or you are an employer handing out the pink slip or accepting a resignation, remember that the parting scene will be replayed in both people’s memories.

Even if you part with a less-than-rosy history between you, end the final scene on a positive note. Part with a kind word. Give encouragement. That last feeling, the vibe, the karma at a job’s ending will follow you.

And, even if it seems like it’s an irreparable bad break, be polite! You may not have kept a solid bridge between you, but it would be nice to maybe leave a thin 2×4 to cross in the future if need be.

 

Nurture Your Business Relationships

 

While treating supervisors and employees with respect is a given, don’t forget to tend to past business relationships. Be sure your intentions are mutually beneficial: don’t simply call your network when you need help, reach out to them by sharing tips, leads, and job prospects. Interactions on LinkedIn, Holiday cards, and simple phone calls keep you fresh in your contacts’ minds.

Nurturing your business relationships–investing in social capital–is key to running a successful organization. Your social network both within your organization and outside of your company is like having a Swiss Army. At any given time, you have multiple contacts you can call upon, allowing you to put creativity and collaboration to work for you.

And don’t discount the importance of nurturing social capital in today’s digital environment. Whether it be digital or face to face, you’re still building relationships. If you have employees who telecommute, make the same effort in supporting the relationship as you would with employees who show up to the office. If you are a work-from-anywhere employee, don’t neglect the significance of contributing to the culture of the organization.

The nature of relationships that you build over the years is truly something to think about. The bridge that you build along the way can be re-crossed at many stages. Situations and people change. Over time, my clients have become my candidates and candidates have become our clients. It is simply fantastic how positive bonds can be strengthened over the years, and how business relationships can even develop into valued friendships.

As you interact with your employees, co-workers and networks, I offer you these tips for maximizing your business relationships:

 

Always Give Your Best Effort

 

It should go without saying, but I will say it anyway: do your best at every job. It doesn’t matter if it’s a short-term commitment, a position below your skill or education, or you are contracting. If you said you’d do the job, do it with enthusiasm and commitment. While the position might not be your destination, the people you meet may become valuable references and the tasks you fulfill may add important experience to your resume.

Employers hiring contract or consultants should also take this advice to heart. If your company hires contractors, train your managers and staff to be friendly, treat them respectfully, and help them with the orientation and resources they’ll need to be successful. Remember that contractors network and talk about past positions with their peers; keep your company’s reputation glowing.

 

Treat Every Relationship with Care

 

I can’t stress this advice enough: treat every relationship with care. There is a recursive nature about the people in our lives because industries and networks intertwine. It’s a journey and the reward along the way are smoothly run projects, more efficient operations, lower turnover rates, and great relationships.

Whether you are an employee or employer, you’re always building your references.

And don’t forget the SOCIAL part of social capital; it’s about leadership, opportunities, and most essentially, people. As you nurture your business relationships by treating every interaction with respect, Continue reading “Invest in Social Capital and Reap High Returns”

New Year, New Attitude

horizon, new day, new attitudeNo matter what your New Year resolutions are, they will certainly include needing the right attitude to accomplish those goals. It seemed everyone was looking to leave 2016 in the dust, making it so befitting to charge up those resolutions to ensure this would be a much better year. In order to do that, we need to ensure we are at our best giving us the ability to really shine. Here are some things to ponder as you make your way into 2017.

• Focus your energy. Make sure what you are doing has real value and impact on your end goal. If it doesn’t, move it out of your way.
• Take the time to nourish yourself. This is a big one. Nobody can be in high performance mode all of the time so give yourself the time to disconnect to reconnect. Your body and your brain need this.
• Celebrate your wins along the way. Nothing great happens overnight and things make take longer than you expected. That’s okay. Even setbacks help us in ways that we didn’t imagine so embrace movement.
• Self-Limitation. You will always get in the way of yourself if you allow that to happen. Listen to your voice, if it is doubting or fearful – change it. A negative voice can sabotage the best of us.
• Positivity. It will determine how you are viewed by yourself and others. The power of a positive attitude has been studied and documented. You will be happier and will have more success if you are a positive person.

Having a positive attitude can lead you to many great things and will change your life at work and at home. You have the ability to affect others so make it count. With a great attitude the door is open for great things to happen in 2017 and beyond.

Job Tenure:  To Have or Not to Have – That Is the Question

What is an acceptable length of job tenure?

What does length of job tenure tell employers about you? Employers look to time on the job to tell a lot about you as a candidate. Your length of job tenure says volumes about your ability to get along with others and make a significant contribution. The length of your job tenure also shows your learning process, experience level, and potential loyalty.

What Is an Acceptable Time on the Job?

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Eighteen months is a tolerable length of employment. Most experts agree an 18-month tenure shows you were able to survive one round of annual reviews. Still, staying at a job 18 months is not exactly stellar. The actual and opportunity costs of replacing an employee is estimated at much more than 150% of a worker’s annual salary. An 18-month stint at a company means, by all accounts, the company may have broken even.

In professional positions, however, it is highly unlikely that eighteen months is the break-even point. Geoff Smart and Randy Street in their book, Who, assert that taking into account actual costs and the loss of productivity, the average hiring mistake costs a company fifteen times the employee’s salary. Given what’s at stake, employers will scrutinize tenure very closely.

What is a reasonable length of tenure for professional positions?

Respectable tenure for professional positions should be measured in years not months, so think of the bigger picture your length of tenure paints. Be certain a job change fits your long-term goals before you hop out of the picture. Explaining to a future hiring manager you left a job because you were approached with an offer you couldn’t refuse gives you a certain allure of being in-demand, but also paints you as somewhat disloyal.

As a professional, when you choose to leave, time your exit gracefully. If you’ve been working on high-level or critical projects for IT, Engineering or other professionally scoped work, it is essential not to leave at a time that will put your company in a bind. A project that relies on you to be a domain expert, Subject Matter Expert (SME), or Project Manager would dictate that you give ample consideration to your company. Remember, your length of job tenure tells a story about your integrity and value as a future employee.

How much time on the job makes a stronger candidate?

acceptable-job-tenure-2Most hiring professionals refuse to look at candidates with more than three jobs in a ten-year period. Five to seven years on a job is ideal for engineering and professional level positions to give you the job tenure to qualify as a domain expert (if you have superior skills).

As an  Subject Matter Expert, you need to have enough experience to constitute “Lifecycle Experience.” Employers do not take “side work” for SMEs seriously – they want lifecycle experience where you’ve had “post mortem” time to understand where mistakes were made.

Can too much time in the same position at the same job hurt my resume?

The short answer? Yes. Five to seven years in a job signals employers to consider you a reliable, competent worker. More time than that without a promotion, however, triggers warning lights that your work is average. Mediocrity is the kiss of death.

Too much time on a job can also limit your reference options. Consider consulting or side contracts as a way to widen your network and avoid placing all of your reference eggs in one basket.

It’s also important not to let your promotions erode your skill set. If you are marketing yourself as an industry specific subject and domain expert, promotions to leadership may signal your skills are rusty. Side contracts and hands-on experience within your department can keep your skills up-to-date.

Define Your Career Path on Smooth Ground and Rocky Terrain.

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The best advice I can give to any worker–currently employed or searching–is to be very clear about your career goals and find the path that will help you reach your goals. Take opportunities that align with your goals.

If you’ve been laid off when the job market is down, resist the pressure to quickly change positions or take the first available option. If you are an “A” Player, you will be able to find an “A” situation, so take the time to ask questions and vet your future employers as they interview you.

If you don’t place yourself in the right position, you could be setting yourself up for tenure problems a year down the road when you “just can’t handle your boss or the company anymore.”

Your length of tenure should be part of a calculated career strategy that balances your goals and financial ambitions with showing employer loyalty, adding to the value of the company, and improving your own skills and marketability.

Be a Walking Job Offer

10 Tips to Nail Your Job Interview

You know to show up on time for your interview, to look the interviewer in the eyes, to give a good, firm handshake. Everyone knows that. Likewise, you’re no stranger to the advice about researching the company, asking insightful questions, and thanking the interviewer.

You understand the big picture of a successful job interview. Here are job interview tips to ace the subtle nuances of interviews:
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Using Multiple Staffing Services Is Like Multitasking and That’s Not a Good Thing

Why Working with Multiple Staffing Vendors is a Nightmare

So you are the “anointed one” in your group? You have the power to decide which staffing vendors you work with and how you with them. Depending on what you decide, your team’s opinion of you can change very quickly.

As the “anointed one,” you get the pleasure of being barraged by multiple staffing and consulting vendors. Everyone in town, it seems, is in the game: consulting companies now staff, staffing companies are a dime a dozen.

So, who to choose?
Continue reading “Using Multiple Staffing Services Is Like Multitasking and That’s Not a Good Thing”

More Is NOT Merrier When it Comes to Using Multiple Staffing Agencies

6 Ways Using More Than One Agency Is Hurting Your Company

You need professional staffing. It seems logical that the more staffing agencies looking for you the better right?

Not necessarily.

When it comes to using multiple staffing vendors, firms who buy-in to the more-the-merrier philosophy suffer. Expense load across the organization increases in terms of real capital, team morale, and reputation. A more serious concern: accomplishing your department’s mission is hurt by staffing practices meant to be efficient.

Consider these 6 misconceptions when it comes to using multiple staffing companies:
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Finding your way through the people maze

Solid employees are the lifeblood of any successful business. Extreme Technologies created this infographic to display the obstacles associated with hiring and how businesses can find quality employees. The goal is to hire the best candidates to meet the needs of the business. This can be difficult when the top 20% of qualified individuals are not listed on job boards and hiring platforms.
Continue reading “Finding your way through the people maze”

Millenial Scholarship Program

Introduction

Extreme Technologies, Inc. is pleased to announce that we are implementing a “Millennial Scholarship Program”. The selected essay or video winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Extreme Technologies is interested in understanding what millennials can do for their prospective employers. The submissions from this scholarship contest will be compiled, analyzed and distributed to relevant parties who will gain strategic insight into the new era of workplace professionals.

Twice yearly for the spring and fall academic semester, Extreme Technologies will select and award one scholarship winner a $1,000 scholarship.

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Staffing Triage to Stop Hemorrhaging Profits [INFOGRAPHIC]

Staffing Triage to Stop Hemorrhaging Profits

As markets continue to evolve and loss of time and money are no longer negotiable, companies that want to gain true competitive advantage need to move away from the “human supply chain model” and begin to understand the importance of hiring the right people the first time.

Companies that use our model see a 40%-67% increase in productivity. Conversely, companies not taking a step back to review broken processes and bad choices in who they hire, will not only lose productivity, it will result in lower net profits and domino into other symptoms that will cause great stress on  the business.
Continue reading “Staffing Triage to Stop Hemorrhaging Profits [INFOGRAPHIC]”