Tag: Team Development

What Really is Professional Development?

This month’s blog was written by Will Richard of the JFC family.  A little about his military service: 4 years in the Army with a year tour in Iraq, Rank:  Sergeant, Company:  756th EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), MOS/Job: EOD/Bomb Squad

The term “professional development” can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. In its simplest form, it is the continual process of acquiring new skills and knowledge as it applies to their career. It requires turning your focus inward to self-reflect and take an honest appraisal of yourself. In my own self-reflection I found that there were two areas that had the greatest potential for personal and professional growth. Figuring out how to lead by inspiration rather than fear, and learning how to better handle personal issues when they leak into the business world.

It’s easy for managers to try and lead by fear and intimidation. While in the military, fear was the main tool taught and used on a daily basis. From basic training to everyday life, fear was used by most people in charge to keep the troops in line. It’s a quick and easy way to get people to listen and do what you say. Fear has its limits, though, making people comply only enough to avoid what causes their fear. Whether that’s a talking to, a ton of push-ups, or even losing their job. Fear is a short term solution and when it is removed so is the motivation. That’s why I’ve devoted a lot of my professional development energy to learning new and superior tools. I want to inspire and lead, not just manage through intimidation.

Fear is an easy, one size fits all method. And as most good leaders know, it is rarely the easy way that’s the optimal way. In order to get best results from people you have to take a more nuanced approach that’s tailored to each individual. You must find what makes them tick and what makes them want to give their best. This takes time and can be very difficult because it requires a leader to spend energy and use tools that are much more complicated. Fear is the fast food of a leader’s tool kit. Quick and easy but it won’t give you the best results. Over reliance on it can have devastating long term effects.

Fear is a strong emotion, but many strong emotions can creep into the workplace. I’ve always been very good at learning new processes, solving unique issues and handling stressful situations, but if you put a crying person in front of me I’ll have no idea how to handle it, or at least, that’s how I used to be. This can be a problem if you’re leading a team because, no matter how hard we try, personal circumstances can infiltrate the workplace. Growth as a professional for me has meant learning how to handle emotions in the right way at work.

fear

It becomes a delicate balancing act of showing concern for your fellow employees without overstepping boundaries. Some people like sharing and having others involved in their personal lives, while others are very closed and guarded. Showing care without pushing too far and maintaining a professional working relationship can be difficult. This is where learning different strategies for handling unique situations is so important. Talking out real and hypothetical situations with others who have experience is an excellent tool in a leader’s toolkit.

Ultimately, I want to be the type of leader that motivates and inspires my team to reach their full potential rather than bark orders and get the bare minimum. In order to do this, I will continue to hone my management tools, adding new ones and adjusting others for the situation. I’ll continue to balance being there for others in their time of need with the needs of the company. I’m still not much of a hugger, but if an awkward hug will brighten your day, then feel free to stop by anytime.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

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How will you pursue your better self?

So many of us are not deliberate or intentional about our own professional development.  Maybe it’s fear, maybe its complacency, or a little of both.  No matter what the reason(s), all are unacceptable.  Rather than go with the flow we should routinely stretch our boundaries and push out of our comfort zone.

Legendary leadership guru, John Maxwell, said it best, “The smallest crowd you will ever lead is you – but it’s the most important one.  The first person we must examine is ourselves.  If you don’t look at yourself realistically, you will never understand where your personal difficulties lie.  And if you can’t see them, you won’t be able to lead yourself effectively.”

My personal advice…focus on the present.  Don’t put off today what you should have started yesterday.  Do something today that your future self will thank you for.  When you’re constantly focused on the future you’re actually much less productive in the current moment.  No one can control the future BUT what you do today will influence it.

future self

My personal request…take action and repeat.  When was the last time you read a book about professional development?  When was the last time you listened to a Podcast for learning?  When was the last time you sought out a mentor?  How about video TedTalks?

Discover untapped abilities by working toward your full potential; never stop growing into your better self.  Be a driving force that contributes to your future self!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

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@ Work, How Do You Create Space?

In 1993 NASA suffered extra pressure and great stress when the Hubble Space Telescope broke down.  They faced a daunting task of figuring out how to go up in space and fix the distorted mirror inside the telescope.  For months the brightest minds in NASA couldn’t identify a solution.

Then one day NASA engineer, Jim Crocker, was taking a shower in a hotel and noticed how the shower head was mounted on adjustable rods with folding arms.  Eureka!  The answer did not appear while working late hours in the lab.  It occurred when Jim was in the shower on vacation, when he created space (no pun intended) from the perplexity of his problem.

Mindset spaceCreating space allows our minds to process thoughts more freely and creatively.  Heck, Newton discovered gravity when sitting under an apple tree.  It requires purposeful separation from the typical problem solving environment in order to let your thoughts move more freely.  It happens when thinking on a problem while out for a stroll, riding a bike, or sitting out in nature (under an apple tree).

Why does creating space work?  Your brain is like any muscle in your body.  Imagine lifting weights multiple times per week but only on biceps.  Doing so will surely strain and fatigue those muscles.  Thus, when you are consumed by constantly tackling the same challenge at work, you actually lose mental energy needed to identify solutions.  This is when it’s time to create space!

June is the halfway mark.  You are six months into 2016.  Are you where you should be? Are you where you want to be?  Take time, create space, and allow deep thought to happen.  The goal is not to be perfect – it is just to be better than before.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

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Vulnerability & Professional Development

What does Professional Development mean to me…

By Jen Silvetti, JFC Workforce Branch Manager 

Honestly- I didn’t know what it was until I started working at JFC.  Every other job previously was just that, a job.  I showed up on time every day and worked to the best of my ability.  Not until I joined the JFC work family did my professional and personal worlds collide so drastically.

I started almost 4 years ago in, what I thought would be, a job.  I still was showing up on time and working to the best of my ability.  Then only after one year I heard a knock at the door- it was opportunity. (I know it sounds cliché doesn’t it?)

Well, for those who know my personality, I am one to take advantage of opportunity.  This meant stepping into the role of Branch Manager in the very branch I was already working in.  Wow- can you imagine?  There I sat managing those who I called my team just the week prior. What was I getting into?  I will admit, it took some time to find my way.

My previous life of corralling preschoolers and probationers did not prepare me for this new world of Staffing and Management- wait yes it did.

I was not managing, I was coaching.  Everything I have done up until this point has shaped me in some way.  My life has created a virtual tool belt and I get to utilize it every day.  One has no idea what tool she will be called to use at a moments notice.  Since working with our Chief Enthusiasm Officer (Jimmy) and the JFC work family, I have been provided with a never ending supply of tools.

What I needed most was to be vulnerable; being afraid to make mistakes and fail.  Or as someone that I met just recently referred to them, see the opportunities in every failure.

How cool is that?

human eye tearingWith this mindset, you have nothing more to do than grow. All these years, I had no idea that being vulnerable was even “a thing” until I heard it and read more about it. I had always thought that this was a sign of weakness and a flaw I had. Since working at JFC, I have grown comfortable embracing vulnerability.  I now know that it is merely something to be conscious of and continue to work through.

Vulnerable by many means, “susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.” Susceptible yes- but you must have the courage to face it.

Over the last few years, I have learned how to cope, manage and coach through my vulnerabilities throughout my development.  JFC has provided such a variety of ways to do this.  I have never in any workplace felt so respected and encouraged. I feel safe enough to make mistakes and question things as long as I still have the openness to keep getting better (and receive feedback).

Also, I am no better or worse than anyone else. These skills that I have learned, and continue to learn, not only help me the 40 hours a week at work but also with my personal life. I am so excited and passionate about my growth, I love sharing it with others anytime I can.  As you can imagine, not everyone is open and vulnerable.  But I will continue to learn and share as much as I can.

Thank you to JFC for showing me how important Professional Development is!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

 

 

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OSHA doesn’t enforce psychological safety…

OSHA may not audit your organization’s psychological safety but you most definitely should!

This is psychology brainwhat makes teams succeed or fail.  It’s not member intellect, commonalities or diversity.  The dynamics of a team and the environment will vary but everyone must feel a sense of psychological safety.

What is this?

It is whether members feel they can trust each other, that honest conversations can take place without fear of retribution.

Each teammate must have a seat at the table and an equal voice.  Don’t get me wrong, this is not to be decision by consensus – each person does not have an equal vote.  An equal voice means that each teammate has opportunity to shape the greater team’s decisions and outcomes.

While this typically begins with the team leader, any teammate can take the reigns of psychological safety.  After all, as John C Maxwell once said, “The smallest crowd you will ever lead is YOU…but it’s the most important one.”  By demonstrating the above mentioned behaviors you can influence others on the team.  No matter your rank/title, think about what message your behavior might send.

Practice active listening…demonstrate sensitivity to what others think and feel…and harness self-awareness.  Pretty soon you will begin to witness psychological safety in action and the success of your team blossom!

Disclaimer: Psychological safety might be less efficient in thesafety short run (allowing everyone to weigh in) but it is far more productive in the long run (members will be committed to the group).  Remember, few worthwhile things in life come quickly.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

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Emerging Workers Meet Dr. Sheldon Cooper

Manage emotional culture for survival and growth…

“Do what we tell you and get a paycheck, healthcare, and retirement bucks. Do that long enough and eventually you’ll tell others around here what to do: Maybe everyone.” Those are the rules, right? That’s what you learned from the punches, and battle-scars that the hardest work and sharpest focus invited on your trip toward the C-Suite.

Okay, maybe when you strip away the context, that’s a little Sheldon Cooper-ish. Sheldon Cooper? You know the Ph.D. from Big Bang Theory who’s floating in an Asperger bubble which deafens him to either his own or other people’s emotions. Dr. Cooper is a highly functioning autistic who’s immersion in a super-specialized field of interest obscures what drives other people.

dr-sheldon-cooper-quotes

Fact is, that model worked. It was a paradigm for enterprise cultures that prospered because they laser-focused upon serving markets by creating goods and services in return for gold. This revenue provided paychecks, healthcare, and retirement bucks.

So? What’s changed?

Employees are increasingly becoming a market that enterprises must also please. Otherwise they lose access to the STEM technicians and specialized management professionals who allow an enterprise to serve customers with their goods and services. As the labor markets have moved away from a demand from brawn to a necessity for brain… Well, Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s begun to realize that the emotional drives of his colleagues are now part of succeeding in the super-specialized field of interest which defines modern market competition.

Increasingly labor-force entrants with productive skills want something more out of a job and especially management.  Too quickly their appetites have been stereotyped by the Sheldon Cooper myopia of the past which dismisses these emerging workers as solely interested in trophies, instant gratification, or fast-tracking to the top. Their emotional cravings for flex-time, telecommuting, social significance, family time, interesting objectives, meaningful tasks, and continual feedback leave Sheldon Cooper cultures muttering… “These kids are good for nothing! They… they… don’t know the meaning of hard work!” Sound about right?

Shhhhh… Hear that? It’s the din of cultures clashing!

Look, the reality is not that younger generations are a challenge to hire and manage.  Instead, too many executive suites have the wrong core belief about managing emerging workers. And being wrong about that core belief means every subsequent decision only makes things worse because every decision is ultimately tied to that belief.

Successful enterprise cultures must evolve and adapt with the workforce or risk irrelevance.  After all, executives demand similar flexibility to the demands of their product markets, right? The reality is that the Millennials and Generation Y who characterize the emerging workforce are not the problem: Sheldon Cooper’s the problem.  Too many of us manage in a narrow tunnel walled off from the emotional culture we create.  Increasingly we must focus upon how employees feel: Yes, the emotional drivers.

Adaptive enterprise cultures are learning to identify, use, understand and manage emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome internal challenges, and defuse conflicts. Succinctly, they learn to read their community’s signals and react appropriately to them. All of which are the components of effective EQ management. Meaning they are pricking the Sheldon Cooper Asperger bubble.  They’re synthesizing that traditional management driver with the aspirations of emerging workers. This for relevancy in a world that blurs self gratification on the job with gratifications from ideals, families, and self awareness.

Is this affordable? Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace Poll” found that 70% of the nation’s employees are disengaged at work.  They estimate that these disengaged employees cost the U.S. between $450 billion to $550 billion each year in lost productivity.  A “Global Workforce Study” by Towers Watson showed only 48% of employees report that their top management is doing a good job of providing effective leadership. In the face of those sorts of metrics, is the Sheldon model still affordable, particularly in a world of out-sourcing, and off-shoring? Is it cost-efficient in a world of market competition without borders?

This is not some soft kumbaya movement.  It’s real and the emerging workers are more mindful of it than most in today’s C suite.  It’s unfortunate given the critical importance of emotional culture that EQ is rarely managed if managed at all. Unfortunate since it influences soft measures like employee engagement but also the hard measures like retaining top talent and financial performance.

Most of us over thirty years of age have barely heard of emotional intelligence (EQ).  Raised in a Sheldon Cooper business culture we were never shown that feelings are primary drivers of behavior and thus we’ve ignored the drive of key emerging workers to shop for the employers who make deliberate attempts to harness this concept.  In the increasingly competitive market for high-productivity talent, enterprises need to grow attention to emotional intelligence (EQ) and its effect on both the front and bottom lines.

It starts at the top, the executive suite.  The old ways might still get you compliance but they will never let you maximize the productivity of focused attentions and commitment.  Disregarding the feelings of others makes employees insensitive and indifferent.  Which will permeate out to customers causing dominos to fall – turnover (employee and customer) creates a costly clatter.

Executives who invest in their EQ management are in fact investing in the overarching emotional culture of their company.  Their front line employees blossom out of happiness and pride rather than wilt from boredom and anxiety.  They perform to higher levels so the customers receive more positive experiences nurturing both profitability and growth.

EQ is the cure to Dr. Cooper’s management Asperger’s. Or at least it’s strategically dialing down the profit-distracting din of colliding cultures.

Article originally published in Lancaster Business2Business Magazine February 2016

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Get your psychological well-being on!

Well-beingEverybody wants and deserves a sense of relatedness in life. It is a human need, not something to be turned off or on between home and work.  Think about it.  You can’t divorce one from the other; the two worlds are dramatically interconnected.

Healthy relationships are fundamental to our success in life. When they are absent at work, our potential is limited.

Be mindful of the influence you have on your peers’ psychological well-being.  Make a conscious effort to facilitate a culture of connectedness.  I guarantee that doing so will bring joy to both yours and their personal and professional life.

Work should be a place where friendships are created; people can go home fulfilled, and they can inspire their friends/family.

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

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Best Places to Work in PA 2015

JFC Staffing Companies named one of the Best Places to Work in PA for 2015. The awards program, created in 2000, is one of the first statewide programs of its kind in the country. The program is a public/private partnership between Team Pennsylvania Foundation, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the Pennsylvania State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management, and the Central Penn Business Journal.

“Our work family and culture mean everything to us.  Without our people there would be no company.” James M. Carchidi, CEOCentral-Penn-Business-Journal-Best-Place-to-Work-in-PA

This survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Pennsylvania, who are benefiting the state’s economy and its workforce. Employers are categorized based upon the total number of employees they have in the United States, 25 to 249 employees and 250 or more employees.

Companies from across the state entered the two-part process to determine the 100 Best Places to Work in PA. The first part of this process was evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices, philosophies, systems and demographics. This part of the process was worth approximately 25% of the total evaluation. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience. This part of the process was worth approximately 75% of the total evaluation. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process.

JFC Staffing Companies will be recognized at the Best Places to Work in PA awards banquet on Thursday, December 3, 2015, at the Lancaster County Convention Center in Lancaster, PA. Rankings will be revealed at the ceremony. Tickets may be purchased online at www.CPBJ.com/events.

WANT TO WORK AT A CO. WHERE HAPPINESS IS A CORE VALUE & YOU NEVER WORK ON YOUR BIRTHDAY?

Life is too short not to have passion and purpose in the work that you do…

Throughout the course of our lives we will spend more time working than any other activity.  That dedication of time should improve our quality of life, rather than act as a weight that sucks the happiness out of us.

What we do here is BIG…we influence one of the most important aspects of people’s lives – how they earn their income.  Our contribution helps them pay their mortgage, feed their families, and purchase birthday presents for their children.

The JFC Staffing Companies are in the business of connecting people. We aim to elevate individual careers and accelerate company growth through extraordinary levels of customer service and performance. The decision was made to be GREAT. Providing positive experiences for our customers will be the driving force to our success.

Here you will receive the power to express yourself while being part of a company renowned for its fun, supportive culture. There is constant cross-departmental training and collaboration; anyone in the company, regardless of specialty your experience, is free to make suggestions, offer criticism, and participate in the developmental process. We put into place programs and resources like employee-taught JFC Universities that seek to improve and develop from within. …And there is much more.

Join our team and become an essential part of the business landscape; dedicated to creating a better, happier, and more engaged community where people want to live, work, and play.

If you’re interested in a company where your skills can be leveraged, where you will learn from the best and continue to grow – contact the JFC Staffing Companies!

Contact us for details of what winning in this position looks like!

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Is job tenure a thing of the past?

It’s safe to say that workforce trends have shifted over the past decade and especially after the last recession. Today there seems to be more of a self-oriented nature to the workforce and, along with it, job-hopping. Ryan Kahn, a career coach and founder of  The Hired Group, says that “job hopping is replacing the concept of climbing the corporate ladder.”

Let’s look at the numbers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average number of years that young employees (ages 20-34) have been with their current employer is 2.3 years.

Why is that?shutterstock_19393759

It must be that younger people are lazy or that they have no loyalty. Sound about right? While these seem to be reasonable reactions, I am here to tell you they are not. From my point of view, recent trends in job tenure or lack thereof, are not a product of laziness or a millennial mindset. Rather, the root cause of today’s abbreviated job tenure might very well rest on the employers and not the employees.

The past recession had employers scrambling to do “more with less.” And while this approach may have worked amid an economic crisis, operating the same way today is proving disastrous. Organizations and management hesitant to invest in their culture and employee engagement might just be the springboard of today’s transient workforce.

It’s no wonder the vast majority of U.S. workers (70 percent) are not engaged at work, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report. Simply put, too many employers are doing “business as usual.” I say, wake up and evolve with the times! It’s not that companies need pool tables, nap rooms, and Google-like amenities. Instead, try inspiring and leading the younger generation in meaningful ways. Some areas to shed light on are the following:

Today’s up-and-coming workforce is less position-focused and more purpose-focused. Rather than promotions in title only, assign side projects that stretch their human development. Be sure to provide routine feedback throughout the process. Also, the corner office is not so much a coveted item these days. Instead, the younger workforce desires open communal settings where they can collaborate and celebrate with their peers.

The next generation of talent is looking to work “towards” something and not just “on” something. Redefine your organization’s vision statement. Make it a crusade toward something bigger than any one person, like how your product/service influences the lives of many. Even if you manufacture widgets, you can still tie into the vision how they make a positive impact on people.

The next generation of movers and shakers do not want to work “under a manager” – they want to work “under a mentor.” The old days of “telling” employees what to do is being replaced with “asking” employees what they think they should do. Asking questions instead of advising or telling will cause employees to think, create answers they believe in and motivate them to act. Essentially, this moves individuals from mere compliance (job-hopper symptom) to sheer commitment.

My closing advice to the managers reading this: Exhausting precious time and energy on attempts to control situations and/or other people is futile. Focus on what you do control. Hire people most aligned with your vision. Invest in your culture. Open up the communication and make active listening part of every interaction.

I believe that until management figures this out and adapts, job-hopping will be the norm – or at least it will be in their organization.

What will you do today to move your employees from compliance to commitment?

The greatest compliment I receive is a referral from ecstatic readers and valued friends.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

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What is your WHY at work?

Here at the JFC Staffing Companies, we absolutely know WHY we come to work each day!

Have you seen the social media posts spotlighting JFC team members professing WHY they love their career with the JFC work family?  Here is a sample of the amazing stories.

“A candidate with a young family wanted to move closer to extended family. When we sent him to an interview, he did his research, impressed them, and got the job for a large increase in pay! When we took him to lunch to celebrate, he told of how his wife’s health battles coupled with a job loss and a new baby made for a stressful situation. He managed to stay positive through it all and is now excited to spend the rest of his career at our client!!!” – JFC Global Recruiter

“It is extremely rewarding to know that you assisted someone in taking their next career move, and at the same time knowing you helped a company needing someone with their talent. It is one of the few win-win situations that you have in life and I get to help make that happen every single day.” – JFC Skilled Trades Recruiter

It’s no wonder the vast majority of U.S. workers (70 percent) are not engaged at work, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report. Simply put, too many employers are doing “business as usual.” I say, wake up and evolve with the times! It’s not that companies need pool tables, nap rooms, and Google-like amenities. Instead, try inspiring and leading your people in meaningful ways.

Do you know the number one reason for customer defection is caused by something that every company has complete control over?  According to the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 68% of customers leave because of the treatment they’ve received.

With more than 85 percent of our clients indicating they would be extremely likely to recommend JFC to a friend or colleague, we have been named to Inavero’s 2014 Best of Staffing™ Client Satisfaction list for a third consecutive year.  Presented in partnership with CareerBuilder, the Best of Staffing list provides the only statistically valid, objective, service quality benchmarks in the industry.

“The 2014 Best of Staffing Award was earned by less than 2% of the more than 12,000 staffing firms in the U.S. and Canada. In an era of scarce qualified talent, hard to fill positions, and ever-increasing expectations, these agencies have proven they have what it takes to deliver exceptional service to both clients and job candidates.” Inavero Founder and CEO, Eric Gregg.

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