Human Resources’ Higher Plane

Empower Employees

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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on July 12, 2000. All rights reserved.

Job Hunting Tips

If you are looking for a job, says Diana Krajewski

of Technoforce LLC, the first thing to do is attend professional association

meetings in the area of your expertise. If you want to work for a

startup, go to a venture association meeting, like the Venture Association

of New Jersey or the New Jersey Entrepreneurial Association. Or target

meetings of the New Jersey Technology Council, or any showcases that

highlight the incubator companies.

Krajewski moderates the panel on Tuesday, July 18, at noon at the

Venture Association of New Jersey’s meeting at the Westin in Morristown

on "Strategic Human Resources for the Fast Growing Company"

(see story above). After the panel, a slew of entrepreneurs will make

five-minute presentations — more than the usual handful of presentations

— because this is the last meeting of the summer, so the meeting

may last until 3 p.m. Cost: $45. Call 973-631-5680.

"During the five-minute presentations, if the start-ups are looking

for talent they will announce it at that time," says Krajewski.

She majored in marketing at Rutgers, graduating summa cum laude, and

has an MBA in human resources from Fairleigh Dickinson. She teaches

recruiting at the College of St. Elizabeth and business ethics at

Fairleigh Dickinson. A former employee at Lucent Technologies, she

and her partner, Robin Berg Tabakin, started their own company

last year, and they focus on E-commerce and start-up companies, looking

for project managers, programmers, CTOs, technical sales.

Everyone at a networking meeting usually gets the chance to introduce

themselves, however briefly, and if you are hunting for a job, you

can say so. But maybe you don’t want to announce this in public. Tip:

CyberPub meets monthly, one week after the VANJ meeting. (This month

it is Thursday, July 20, at 7 p.m., at the Westin.) It’s free, with

a cash bar, and no reservations needed. "That is purely networking,"

she says. "You can meet someone one on one and talk about a job


Other tips to jobseekers:

Register on time for the networking meetings so your contact

information is included in any handouts. Venture groups issue a

list of registrants, by number, and a booklet of the sponsors. "When

people introduce themselves, they refer to their number. You can circle

the information and get back to them at a later date," she says.

Do an electronic job search to find out what the companies

are looking for. Compare where your skills match up. What do you have

that could differentiate you? Where do you need to improve your skills.

Go for additional training or refurbish your portfolio

to showcase competencies that companies are looking for.

Let friends and neighbors know you are looking for a job,

because employer referral programs are one of the most popular recruiting

methods now.

When you do your due diligence on a company with a job offer,

understand what your personal values are and how they mesh with those

of the corporation. "In everything you need to include integrity

and social responsibility," says Krajewski.

Top Of Page
Human Resources’ Higher Plane

Pull up an extra chair at the executive roundtable.

Human resource professionals are joining in, says Susan Gauff,

who holds the unusual title of "vice president of people and communications"

at Sarnoff Corporation.

"Due to the war for talent today, particularly in technical disciplines,

there is a need for human resources to function at a higher strategic

level and to participate with senior executives to support retention

and recruitment," says Gauff, who speaks on "Tips and Techniques

for Getting a Seat at the Executive Table," on Tuesday, July 18,

at 6 p.m. at the New Jersey Technology Council Meeting at the Forsgate

Country Club. Also speaking: Jeffrey Weiner, human resource

manager at Alpha Technologies. Call 856-787-9700. Cost: $70.

A left-brainer in a right-brainer’s world (she has an English degree

from Centenary College, Class of 1967), Gauff says that she’s been

able to provide an extraordinary service for the technical community

at Sarnoff. "Sarnoff is a business that is 100 percent reliant

on the ideas that people bring forth, so my function is to maximize

the productivity of intellectual capital," says Gauff, who is

essentially the chief administrative officer responsible for human

resources, change programs, facilities, and marketing and communications.

"I focus on all of non-technical things," she says. "The

most important thing to understand is how engineers think. It’s a

very linear, analytical type of thinking, and most human resources

people are a little softer and less analytical. If you can approach

these non-technical things from a right-brain perspective, it’s relatively

easy to get technical people to understand how their behavior affects


Changing attitudes and relationships, in fact, can affect business

results, says Gauff. "Previously at Sarnoff, and at most technical

companies, the perception is that interpersonal relationships don’t

do much to create results. I’ve tried to teach people how to work

in teams, to teach management positive reinforcement techniques, and

to use people power to create better scientific results." One

of Gauff’s initiatives, the "Change/Leadership Team," brought

people with an orientation in process improvement together to teach

others in the company the fundamentals of process improvement productivity

in their respective departments.

Many human resources people function at a lower level in the organization,

says Gauff, doing very tactical jobs like administering benefits and

processing payroll, but as long as recruitment and retention remain

problems for the company (and in most, they do), human resources people

can play more of a strategic role. "If you give your employees

a better quality of life they will spend more time working," she

says "If you give people the authority to make their own decisions,

they will make better decisions."

If you’re going to cozy up with senior executives to create "people

initiatives," however, make sure you can show how it affects the

bottom line, says Gauff, who will be providing techniques on talking

the language of the board of directors at the seminar.

"There are three things a business wants to do," says Gauff.

"Make profits for shareholders, grow the business, and maintain

a reputation in their market. If you can relate the human resources

problem back to those three measurable results, you’re likely to have

more success with your programs."

For example, if you have a strategy for recruiting, don’t just look

up the costs to hire someone, calculate what it costs to the business

to not have that person on board in terms of lost productivity and

revenues. "Knowing that kind of information would assist you in

selling broader recruiting programs," she says.

If management training is your agenda, tie the success of the managers

back to retention. "There are a lot of costs in the turnover of

employees," says Gauff. "Show that the activities provide

a return on investment, real numbers. The secret is to be able to

prove it in a really analytical way."

Perhaps most important, says Gauff, you have to put yourself in a

position to associate with senior executives, and don’t be afraid

to ask them what kind of "results" they need to approve a

program. "A lot of people are intimidated by senior staff,"

says Gauff. "A lot of people make assumptions that they have to

go in front of the boss without rehearsal but that’s not true."

In your discussions with senior management, always relate the topics

you’re talking about to those areas of growth and profit. "If

there’s not a business reason for doing something," she says,

"you shouldn’t do it."

— Melinda Sherwood

Top Of Page
Empower Employees

A boss tries to micro-manage his company and it fails

to grow; a company hires technically-knowledgeable project managers

instead of salespeople and customers begin to drop like flies.

Such scenarios are possible at any small business. Bill Hogan,

a small business management consultant and professional coach, has

already solved a few of these problems. "The number one problem

I face is the control these entrepreneurs seem to exert," he says.

"If I’m the entrepreneur, I have to make all the decisions right

up to what donuts and coffee to pick. It becomes difficult to grow

the company that way."

Hogan speaks on "Developing Relationships Through Effective Sales

Techniques," on Wednesday, July 19, at 8:15 a.m. at the Princeton

Chamber meeting at the Nassau Club. Call 609-520-1776. Cost: $21.

A mathematician with a BS from Montclair State, Class of 1960, Hogan

started his career as a math teacher and basketball coach in Bergen

County. He later moved to IBM, where he spent 15 years in sales and

sales management, and two more years on the strategic planning staff

in Armonk. His consulting company, Leadership Group Inc. at 2 Carnegie

Road in Lawrence (609-883-5100), offers professional coaching in

the areas of hiring, firing, and having employees accept responsibility.

When entrepreneurs spend an inordinate amount of time running the

business, and not enough time planning the business, says Hogan, they

will find it difficult to get to the next level. His solution: "Let

the employees go out and start making the decisions."

Hogan’s Top 10 Ways to Empower Your Employees:

Allow employees to actively participate in team and company

goals. Include employees at every level of the organization.

Allow employees to suggest better ways of doing their job.

Employees often report that they have no input and are told how to

perform their jobs, says Hogan. Listen, and be willing to hear their


Provide positive reinforcement. Don’t just give negative

feedback. Balance it with positive.

Clearly delegate responsibility and give employees authority

along with responsibility. Don’t give an assignment, then give negative

feedback and say never mind, says Hogan.

Be clear in your communication. Be sure employees really

understand you.

Show you have trust in your employees. Allow them to make

mistakes as a form of learning. Don’t make them feel you are looking

over their shoulder to make sure that they do things right, says Hogan.

Listen. Most employees report that their conversations

are one way.

Be interested in the employee’s career development. Employees

often report that their goals are not viewed as important to the organization.

Let the employee help you achieve success. In other words,


Be a coach.

The best way to empower people is not to manage them, says Hogan,

but to coach them to success. This is a process of developing their

skills and providing them specific feedback to meet high standards.

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