Thursday, April 5
Keeping Employees Happy — One Individual at a Time
Employees are jumping ship, and there isn’t even a rescue vessel on the horizon. In a recent study by Right Management Consultants, half of the CFOs leaving their current companies exited for reasons other than a new job offer. Only 48 percent of all surveyed CFOs had held theirs job more than five years. Steven Glauser, Right Management’s vice president of organizational consulting, says that these defections are symptomatic of poor leadership at the helm.
Glauser speaks on “Talent Retention: Retaining a High Potential Workforce” at the Tri-State Human Resource Management Association’s breakfast meeting on Thursday, April 5, at 7:30 a.m. at the Clarion Hotel in Cherry Hill. Cost: $40. Visit www.tristate.org.
A licensed psychologist, Glauser has spent the last three decades convincing executives of the simple maxim that one style of workplace interaction does not fit all. A born and bred Philadelphian, Glauser earned his B.A. in psychology from Penn in l971. He then moved to Temple, where he took his master’s in organization behavior and psychology and his Ph.D. in organizational and clinical psychology.
Before coming to Right Management, Glauser served as president of LeverEdge Consulting Group. Currently at Philadelphia-based Right Management Consultants (www.right.com), Glauser splits his time between executive coaching and consulting on organizational effectiveness. His clients include Rolls-Royce Aerospace, Kraft Foods, and Mercy Health Systems.
President Richard M. Nixon was fond of saying that “a manager thinks of today and tomorrow, a leader thinks of the day after tomorrow — and we need both.” In full agreement, Glauser sees managers providing framework and continuity, while leaders provide an individualized sense of motivation and urgency. Interestingly, he says that although leaders are those ranked higher up in the company, they are the ones responsible for knowing more about individualized needs.
He says that the task boils down to meeting the needs of those working for you so that they will not leave.
Why they run. In the 191 organizations surveyed by Right Management, only 20 percent had held onto their CFOs for more than 10 years, while 25 percent had seen their CFOs depart in less than three years. Other than the half accepting new job offers, 23 percent of those leaving complained that they did not fit into the corporation’s culture. Twenty-two percent said the job or work environment was too stressful, and the remaining 5 percent of the CFOs blamed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
Passed in response to a number of corporate and accounting scandals, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act has brought financial officers under increasing scrutiny and heaped on them an additional workload. While this reason to run may be specific to CFOs, Glauser says that the other two complaints are typical in all levels of business — and are a huge loss.
“Even forgetting the confusion and retraining time, the mere replacement typically involves an unacceptable loss,” he says. In the survey, 34 percent of firms losing a CFO spent three to five months getting a replacement, while 26 percent took from six months to an entire year to fill the slot .
Generational splits. “We are increasingly becoming a multigenerational workforce,” says Galuser, “and each group has very different requirements.” Coming into their later working years — and also into top management positions — are the Boomers, the 50 to mid-60-year-olds who have what Glauser terms gold watch expectations. They were leery of how their fathers had been treated at careers’ end, but they still believed in lifetime employment.
Today’s corporations have made it very clear that employment for life is a thing of the past, but the good firms are giving this group the promise of lifetime employability anyway. “Boomers want the training benefits that will keep them at the top of their skills and top of their incomes on into a late retirement,” says Glauser.
Generation X, those averaging from ages 35 to 45, don’t have the Boomers’ patience. Glauser says that for this group work is equated with self-esteem. They want to prove themselves and make a statement in their workplace. This also puts an increased yearning for advancement in their needs’ package. Whereas the Boomer might be willing to wait a few years, Generation Xers are saying, “In 18 months, either I’m up or I’m gone.” For the employer, the good news is that these hardworking employees’ requirements may be met with new projects and challenges, not just rank promotions.
The Millennials, the workplace’s newest arrivals, often provide management with the trickiest problems. Glauser sees them as “the most selfish group to enter the workforce in a while.” For many of these young hires, life begins at 5 p.m. Work is merely a way to fund the fun part of their lives. However, this generation sincerely seeks challenge, and the employer who can offer that opportunity will have a core of energized, dedicated workers.
Alluring benefits. One size shoe will always pinch someone. Business is made up of individuals, and no matter how considerate and generous a single company policy or executive style, it cannot be laid onto everyone. The benefits buffet has become an increasingly popular method of recognizing individual worker needs.
Stock options, cash bonuses, merit systems are all becoming separately contracted at each worker’s preference. Instead of one bundled healthcare package, employees are given consumer-driven plans from which they may select — choosing perhaps less of the dental plan in favor of the stronger prescription drug plan.
The same flexibility is seen in pension plans, particularly as employee tenure decreases.
Cultural recognition. Not only is our nation experiencing an unprecedented in-flow of immigrations, but as business goes global employees from around the globe are mixing with native-born employees as they work on short-term projects. While knowing each employee’s cultural heritage may be an impossible task, a certain investment in communication must be made.
If you have just newly hired a Muslim accountant, taking him out for a round of drinks at the local pub may not be the wisest welcome. Rather, chat with him and find out if he requires a special spot in the office to perform the daily calls to prayer. At this point he may tell you that he is somewhat lapsed and would enjoy the pub, but at least you have reached out and shown him individual consideration.
Every person comes to work in the morning for a different reason. Some seek prestige and esteem, others look for intellectual challenge and society. Still others strive for increased cash as a way of keeping score. To make the company a profitable team, the leader must find and serve these motivations. The leader who can transform stress into an intriguing challenge, and provide a personalized workplace environment, will stand an excellent chance of keeping his team on board for many years.
— Bart Jackson
Monday, April 9
The Art of Motivation
For all those supervisors and managers out there who try to motivate employees with a snappier crack of the whip, here’s a message for you — it ain’t gonna work. “If you are going to be a true leader in the work environment, you need to understand that the my-way-or-the-highway style does not work well,” says Cathy Quartner Bailey, corporate coaching expert and an authority on the fine art of motivation. “It’s much better to understand people’s style, motivate them, and get them to do something not because they have to, but because they want to,” she says. “My way or the highway gets some level of performance, but it certainly won’t get the best out of people.”
In business, as in life, taking the time to motivate — either oneself or other people — can make the crucial difference between success and failure. “It is a skill that is sometimes overlooked, but can be extremely important,” says Quartner Bailey. “Having a developmental plan, and then implementing it step by step, can help you reach goals that before seemed out of reach.” She leads a five-week class at Mercer County Community College on “Motivating Tools for Top Performance” beginning on Monday, April 9, at 6:30 p.m. Cost: $270. For more information or to register, 609-570-3311 or visit www.mccc.edu.
Coaching — which differs from management and mentoring — is a collaborative, solutions-focused process that helps facilitate positive change in both the individual and the business. By clearly defining overall vision, goals, strategic points of focus, milestones, and success criteria as part of an overall developmental plan, coaches like Quartner Bailey help individuals to achieve while simultaneously tracking their progress.
Coaching is practiced at large corporations like Firmenich, Merrill Lynch, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, as well as at smaller enterprises, all the way down to a deli. There is also an added bonus for people who receive coaching in an enterprise of any size. “While this is not something we emphasize, these skills can be successfully applied to personal issues and home life,” says Quartner Bailey. “My clients learn to work on their own specific goals. Sometimes these are behavioral, sometimes they require developing new communication skills, developing empathy, delegating better, and generally managing better.”
The five-week class is based on American Management Association standards, and allows students to become familiar with the basics of coaching. These include active listening, powerful questioning, acknowledgement, and validation. By looking at some real life examples, students can better understand the concept of coaching in the workplace. “These are skills and techniques that effective leaders use,” says Quartner Bailey. “Some people do them intuitively while others need to consciously work on them in order become better managers in the workplace.”
While many of the skills that Quartner Bailey emphasizes seem like common sense, it’s a fact that common sense is sometimes lost in the shuffle and stress of the day-to-day workplace.
“Anyone in a supervisory position needs to be aware of the differences in the people around them on a non-judgmental basis,” says Quartner Bailey. “People have different styles. Some people are very direct communicators, while others are extremely indirect. Some people absolutely love change, while others tend to shy away from anything new. Some people are people people and others are not. The better sense you get of the people you are working with, the better you can tailor the message.”
Good communication is, of course, a necessary part of any successful business, but there are common roadblocks that can lead to mayhem in the office and negatively affect business. A common one is called triangulation.
“A client I have had two individuals come to her separately and complain about the other,” says Quartner Bailey. “What she did was, after letting them vent for a few minutes, she told them that they need to go back and work it out together. That was the way to do it, because she was preventing that whole triangulation.” Providing the third leg in a conflict triangle rarely results in a satisfying compromise.
Quartner Bailey also advises that supervisors try to keep things on a positive level as much as possible. But sometimes even an upbeat attitude is not enough.
“I have a client who is dealing with an individual who I would say is beyond coaching,” she says. “In coaching you really believe in the potential of the individual to find the answers and perform at a high level. Some situations are such that the individual you are managing or coaching isn’t able to do better. Coaching works best if there is a specific skill a client needs or something they need to be trained in in order to perform better. But if you have someone who is just not responding, you really need to put them on a strict plan and document what they are doing and not doing.”
Born and raised in Baltimore, Quartner Bailey earned an MBA from the University of Chicago and a BA in economics from Emory. She is a New York University Certified Executive Coach, certified by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), and a Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst (CPBA). In 2001 she moved to Princeton, where she lives with her husband, a senior financial analyst, and two children.
Quartner Bailey says that coaching can be a valuable tool to bring into the work environment. “You get very clear about understanding what you want to achieve and the steps you need to achieve it,” she says. “This way you can achieve something faster and at a higher level.” For those interested in in applying some coaching skills in their daily lives, Quartner Bailey offers these tips:
Emphasize the positive. By focusing on the negative aspects of a person’s work, supervisors and managers threaten to alienate rather than educate. “Everyone has different styles and reasons for what they do,” says Quartner Bailey. “By keeping a positive goal in mind you can provide a reachable opportunity for improvement.”
Keep things professional. “It is important to make it about the behavior and not about the other person,” says Quartner Bailey. “Then you need to bring it back to the overall goal, the overall mission. People do not have to be friends, but they do have to work together.”
Know thyself, as well as others. Practice self-awareness without judgment,” says Quartner Bailey. “Style is style and being aware of someone’s style is positive, but don’t judge it. There is no right or wrong style. It is just styles of working. Try to allow yourself to look at something from a different perspective.”
Listen and empathize. A good manager is often a good listener. “By listening to people with an open mind, you learn to see things from their perspective,” says Quartner. “You also allow people to feel that they are being heard, something that is often pushed by the wayside in day-to-day interactions, but that can fester into a real problem.” — Jack Florek
Wednesday, April 11
Follow Your Bliss, More or Less
In the book “The Power of Myth” Joseph Campbell tells Bill Moyers that in order to find a meaningful career one should “follow one’s bliss.” While this bit of advice may work for those as educated and talented as Campbell or Moyers, it’s plain to see that the rest of the population of work-a-day types could use a helping hand. That’s where career coaches like Tom Caines step in.
“Exploring for yourself just what your passions are is an important consideration for those interested in reinventing themselves for a career change,” says Caines. “It’s not the only consideration, but it certainly will help you get your bearings in preparation for the career-change journey ahead.”
Caines knows of what he speaks. A professional career coach and business-owner for the past five years, he has also had careers as varied as farming, working as a professional photographer, IT professional, desktop publisher, teacher, television producer, writer, and filmmaker. He is also currently an adjunct professor at Sussex County Community College. He teaches a three-session class, “Reinventing Yourself for Today’s Job Market,” starting on Wednesday, April 11, at 7 p.m. at Mercer County Community College. The three-week seminar offers attendees the opportunity to explore their interests, learn about latest changes in the job market, compare and contrast resume styles, and network. For more information, call 609-570-3311.
According to Caines, in today’s increasingly competitive job market it pays to be aware and ready. “Right now there are executives in boardrooms in New Jersey making deals and decisions that will radically impact the careers of people all over the state,” he says. “A company can sell your job to another corporation at a drop of a hat. Don’t wait until you are pressured out the door. Explore your possibilities now and then go where you want to go and when you want to go.”
Caines has offered his seminar in the past, both at Mercer and Sussex, and it always attracts a varied crowd. “Some people are there simply checking out some possibilities,” he says. “There are also people who are either in the process of deciding that it is time to go or are retiring. But there are always those people who are being downsized or are unhappy in their jobs and feeling scared and isolated. They are looking for support and we are able to offer that kind of support.”
One of the secrets to making a career change is knowing what you have to offer. “Many people don’t realize just what options they may have,” says Caines. “I had a person in my class who had worked as an engineer for the past 25 years and wanted to move on. He needed to look at what skills he used that went beyond his job title. Although he called himself an engineer he may have performed some HR functions or handled finances. He may have done reviews of other employees. He may have been a team leader.”
Beyond skills, values and passions are also worth considering when preparing to make career change. Melding them together with a good dose of reality is the key that can lead to a satisfying career.
“Let’s suppose I have a person who is working for a company in which he is being asked to perform tasks that go against the grain of his personal beliefs or values,” says Caines. “Let’s say he tells me that he always wanted to be a fireman and is now working as a structural engineer in an unsatisfying job. Let’s suppose that the part of his current job that he likes concerns itself with building homes rather than commercial buildings, because he is more into people than corporations. He then discovers that his real passion is to help people live well, be well, and have a good environment. He then can ask himself what in his past supports that kind of thinking. If he can’t be a fireman, maybe he can be an EMT. That’s something you can do as a 75-year-old.”
Born and raised in Newark, Caines earned his bachelor’s degree from Jersey City State College as a media and communications major. His mother worked as a school teacher and his father was a dental technician in Patterson. “Actually my father, who is now 83 years old, still works as dental technician in East Brunswick, making bridges and false teeth,” says Caines. “He works four days a week and loves it still.” Caines wife, Claire, is a psychotherapist in private practice as well as a career coach. Together they own Clear Vision Coaching (www.careervisioncoaching.net).
Before starting his business, Caines worked as an IT technical analyst for PSE&G for eight years, serving as a team leader. There he had the opportunity to work with a business coach and this was his first introduction to the concept of coaching. Before that he worked in a variety of fields, including television production, photography, teaching, and desktop publishing for insurance companies.
While many people in their 50s and 60s take his seminars, Caines also works with college-age people. He finds that the two groups have a lot in common. “It is a fact that people change careers about five times in every lifetime,” says Caines. “At Sussex I teach a course to incoming freshman and they are actually in a similar predicament to their parents and grandparents. They are all stuck.
“One group is stuck in where they think they will be going and the other is stuck in where they have been. These kids are just out of high school and think that whatever career they choose at the outset will be the one that they will have their whole life. But I tell them that they only need to stay in the career they chose as long as they choose to. A person can start out in nursing, take courses in social work and become a professional therapist, or a doctor, or whatever else. I tell them that they can go where their passion drives them to go. “
For those contemplating a career shift, Caines offers these tips:
Do a passion test. Ask yourself what your dream job would be, no matter how silly. “It can be anything you ever wanted to be, even as a child,” says Caines. “So many people initially get involved in careers for the wrong reasons. Asking yourself what you really want to do in a dream job allows you to get inside your own head and begin to see things in a more intrinsically beneficial way.”
Inspect your own values. “Nobody wants to be bored all day doing uninteresting work or perform tasks or work in an environment that they may find reprehensible,” says Caines. “While a paycheck is important, it is also important to define yourself in relation to the career you have or want to have.”
Take a dose of reality. Personal life is a consideration when contemplating making a change. “If you have children, a mortgage, and need to build a college fund, then you don’t want quit your $80,000-a-year job and go sell t-shirts on the beach,” says Caines. “Working in something that you are passionate about is more important even than the money, but you need to combine that with taking care of your minimum needs.”
What does your resume really say? One of the outcomes of reinventing yourself is the need to write a new resume. “In my seminars, we write resumes, read them through to the group, and hold a discussion,” says Caines. “I often find that in their resumes individuals are still leading people over to their pervious jobs, not the ones that they want to do.”
Caines recommends that people say outright that they are passionate about the career they would like to have. “There is no problem saying that you are a structural engineer, and that working for the benefit of people is your passion,” he says. “That way people won’t take you as a pencil pusher. You ask yourself how can you tell employers about you so that they can see the you that you want them to see.”
Be positive and network. “Tell your story and get support,” says Caines. “People can ask themselves just how many contacts they actually have in the world. Have lunch with them, tell them your story. Let them know what you are looking for. You need to communicate that passion. It is that you are moving on because you are ready for another challenge in your life.” — Jack Florek
Thursday, April 12
New Options in Retirement
When comedian George Burns was in his 90s, he was asked by a reporter to explain his secret for staying young. “When you get older it is tempting to let yourself start taking those little steps that old people take,” he says. “I always make sure to take big steps when I walk. That keeps me young.”
According to Nunzio Cernero, who founded Mercer County Community College’s Small Business Development Center, today’s modern seniors are not interested in slowing down. “Some seniors don’t even like to use the word ‘retirement,’” he says. “For them it’s an opportunity to start a business or profession or continue on at a pace more conducive to a senior lifestyle.”
Cernero gives a workshop on “Retirement Jobs and Starting a Business” on Wednesday, April 12, at 6 p.m. at Mercer County Community College. The workshop is a part of a continuing series of noncredit courses for new retirees, and those planning on retiring. Cost: $28. For more information or to register call 609-570-3856 or visit www.mccc.edu.
Having retired from MCCC three years ago (along with his wife, who worked as a counselor) Cernero now heads his own business, Nunzio E. Cernero LLC. “I retired from one activity and picked up another,” he says. “I’m involved in helping people with their financial and retirement planning, something I’ve actually been doing for a long time. My clients are people who want to stay vital and involved. Retirement can be a wonderful time of personal growth for many people.”
But with politicians consistently bewailing the long-term solvency of Social Security while millions of Baby Boomers are poised to retire, many soon-to-be seniors are dreading the possibility of spending their retirement years working as a greeter at Wal-Mart or a table cleaner at McDonalds.
“The key is preplanning for many people,” says Cernero. “There are a lot of 401ks and pension plans out there that really weren’t there in the past. Of course, that’s not to say everyone is wealthy. But as long as your basic needs are met, retirement can be a very exiting time. I find very often that a decision to retire is based on simply wanting to do something, maybe something that they always wanted to do but that they couldn’t do in the past.”
According to Cernero, with the aging of the population will come a time when employers will be forced to attract senior workers. “I don’t think a whole lot of people have listened to Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, but I heard him testify before Congress,” he says. “Greenspan has been very vocal in terms of trying to inform the public about what a severe impact this could have on the labor market. This is something that a lot of executives and business leaders don’t seem to fully grasp, but if you take a longer look at the American labor market, there is real concern about a potential labor shortage.”
Already there has been a growth in the range of jobs open for participation by seniors. “If someone has been employed their whole career, it may seem to them that all there is the full-time job market,” says Cernero. “But there are other markets out there. There are websites that have been created to provide opportunities exclusively for seniors. Many people find that temporary employment is something that suits them best. These are often jobs that have a starting and ending date. Some people prefer part-time jobs. There are also part-time business possibilities for seniors. There are also those who choose to continue working full time.”
Born and raised in New Jersey, Cernero earned his bachelors degree from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. In the 1980s he graduated from Southern Illinois University with his MBA, though he studied right here in New Jersey. “I took my business classes at McGuire Air Force base,” he says. “Every military base has an education center and many colleges had branches located at these centers. At various times they have opened them up to the public. Fortunately, they opened theirs up while I was looking for an MBA program. At that time it was the only accredited MBA program in the state besides Rutgers.”
Cernero worked at MCC for 30 years as an assistant dean in the Continuing Education division while also operating a financial planning practice. He has two grown daughters, one working as a regional marketing manager, while the other is a stay-at-home mom.
For those who want to explore their senior options, Cernero says that it’s good to start out slowly in the pre-planning process. “Start by taking a look at what you want to do,” he says. “Retirement planning can be focused on starting with things that really interest you, and then filling in the blanks. That way you start right out with the mindset of really serving yourself. I have a client who is writing a screenplay right now. There are others who are writing children’s books or painting. Some prefer to do volunteer work. It can be a time to focus on an avocation as opposed to a vocation.” — Jack Florek
Some websites to help seniors explore the labor and business market and their retirement options: www.seniors4hire.org.