I graduated from school during a deep recession. Armed with an undergraduate degree in psychology, I didn’t have readily apparent job skills. After a long and daunting job search, which took place using an old-fashioned typewriter, envelopes, stamps, and bus rides all over Massachusetts, I secured a job at a junior college in Boston. My adult children are very tired of hearing about my travails, but that search and resulting job left a lasting impression on me.
My first professional job was a great fit! I was able to work with junior college students and help them plan their future careers. I was able to work with employers and help them find great workers, and I was able to teach a class that I had taken as an undergraduate. That was not all – the environment I worked in was vibrant, and most of all caring.
My new colleagues invited me to lunch and then to their homes. My new friend Karin greeted me every morning. Ruth always had a listening shoulder. Jon teased me mercilessly and created so much humor that many days I laughed until I cried. There was ever-smiling Debbie, and also Maria, who was older and wiser and shared so much wisdom with me. And then there was Nancy. Nancy was my manager and she ensured that I felt welcome and a part of the team from the outset.
In our new virtual work, where our colleagues are dispersed all over the area and oftentimes all over the world, do you take the time to welcome the first timers? Do you send a text or a card when a colleague is ill or is struggling with a family member? And if you are back in an office, do you go to lunch with the newbie? Do you take the time to welcome them and spend a few minutes learning about them?
Here are my friends from my first professional job in Massachusetts. Even though none of us have worked together in over three decades, we gathered last week for dinner in Boston. This group was my support system and they encouraged and inspired me. Are you that person for someone else? Be the reason someone new feels welcomed and included. Pass it on.
Many businesses are finding new hiring challenges with a shrinking labor pool to draw from. And so, I have been working with my clients to help them strengthen their hiring practices in order to attract the very best candidates. Large companies have their name recognition, great benefits, and often more competitive salaries, so what do mid-sized and smaller companies have to offer? Smaller companies can offer their size as a selling point to potential applicants, and below I have listed some of the benefits. They are numerous and detailed, so feel free to visit my website for a more robust discussion.
More interconnection with colleagues. The opportunity to experience a 360-degree view of company-wide operations and gain skills in multiple areas of expertise. Involvement in new things and a variety of assignments.
Interactions with C-suite decision-makers to learn firsthand from their experience. Access to people who matter to showcase your abilities. A chance to build valuable relationships and job skills.
Closer work relationships with executives. A chance to make a direct impact, take on more responsibility, and have your hard work noticed.
More teamwork and collaboration with colleagues.
Leaders with outside-the-box ideas for how to engage team members and create a pleasant work environment.
Autonomy in your work. Simpler reporting structures, with less red tape and protocol. Projects completed more quickly and with less frustration.
Closer personal relationships with coworkers. Visibility when you produce good work. The knowledge that you and your efforts matter.
Business decisions made with employees in mind. Company-wide creative risks with strategies. Requests for input from lower-level staffers.
Desired and beneficial workplace culture developed, promoted, and implemented more quickly.
Appreciation for your efforts, reported to be experienced more often in smaller organizations.
More creative and customizable fringe benefits.
Can you think of other perks of working for a small or medium sized company? Please share with me, especially if you have firsthand experiences.
Your team has scored a meeting with a sought-after new client, Michael, a well-liked VP in the manufacturing industry. Participants in the meeting include three colleagues from your organization plus an additional four employees from the client’s company.
The group is discussing your product, when completely out of the blue, Michael says, “Damn queers. We have to make all these efforts just so they can buy our product. Do we really need their money?” No one responds and the meeting continues as though nothing had happened.
- As a team leader for your company, what should you do at this unexpected moment?
- How can you prepare yourself to handle situations where someone in a position of power says something that is clearly demeaning and objectionable?
- If this had happened to you, what follow-up with your company or the prospective new client’s organization would be appropriate?
Please let me know how you would deal with this scenario, as well as how effectively you think your organization might handle it. We will be sharing similar situations in the months to come. If you would like facilitated training with us, we will customize a program specifically for your organization’s circumstances and culture.