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Covid-19 Changing employee Motivations

A recent study has revealed 96% of job seekers questioned would now not consider working for a company with a poor Covid-19 record.

The study, conducted by online job board Zoek and Neil Harrison from NH237 employment consultancy, looked at if Covid-19 was affecting employees’ opinion regarding their current and future employers.

Results revealed a significant change in the priorities of employees, with how a company treats its staff now much more of a concern. An overwhelming 93% of the 1,134 part and full-time workers surveyed said they would now choose a less successful company that supported employees over a more successful one that did not. The study also revealed that people are much more likely to conduct their own research into prospective employers, with issues such as remote working and workplace social distancing now important factors.

Regarding the findings, Diana Campbell, managing director at Zoek, said;

It is really interesting to see how motivations on moving jobs have changed since the job market has started opening back up. It is more important than ever to provide flexibility and confidence to candidates, which is something we have seen a high volume of searches for on Zoek.”

The survey also revealed that 57% of people felt their employers had communicated well during the lockdown. However, 17% said they had not heard anything from their employers, and only a third knew their employers’ plans for the next six months. The impact of covid-19 will change relations, and expectations, moving forward between employers and employees.

The behaviour of companies during the lockdown was a hot topic, with 55% admitting to sharing stories on social media, both good and bad, regarding their employers’ behaviour. Neil Harrison, lead consultant at NH237 Consulting, said the findings revealed the need for companies to communicate better the good things they have done during the shutdown. He said,

“I truly believe that what an organisation presents to the outside world in terms of candidate attraction has to be born out of the internal employee experience and prevailing culture. This report has further proved that even in the current climate, candidates aren’t willing to go just anywhere to take the next step in their career.”

CareerWise Canada: Working with Mature Clients

An article by TANYA MYKHAYLYCHENKO

This article covers several challenges mature workers face and how career pros can address them.

Career professionals have a broad range of tools for success when working with mature clients who have been in full-time management or administrative roles for 10+ years with the same employer.

Many of these workers are dedicated professionals who were known and respected in their recent workplace for their strong knowledge of the organization and its processes. Often you can hear them say, “I don’t know how to put this on the resume, but I just get things done. I’m very reliable.”

Mature workers who have not had to look for work in several years need help understanding ATS, networking, follow-up and ways of articulating their professional differentiators. The added challenges of post-COVID hiring may include higher competition, more agile businesses and more reliance on technology. In the current climate, mature workers may also need some assistance with highlighting their technical skills and their ability to work remotely.

Understanding the Agile, Contingent Workforce of Today

Competition is high, many roles are temporary, and businesses are trying to be agile and save resources. COVID-19 is introducing new remote ways to do business, use more technologies and delegate tasks to workers (in any location) who can be productive in a remote setting.

If your client was used to stability and long-term employment in their previous organization, they may first consider acknowledging the current situation to position themselves as a candidate who offers both stability and adaptability.

To support mature workers:

  • Prepare them to leverage their experience and years of dedication to previous employers while expressing their adaptability to most recent changes in hiring.
    • They can speed up their hiring process by being highly articulate about their measurable results, technical skills and soft skills – the combination that makes them stand out.
  • Train them to highlight their hard skills as well as demonstrate confidence, competence, resilience and strong communication. A candidate with a calm, executive presence is seen as a reliable employee able to handle challenges.
  • Articulate their value for them: focus on their ability to build consensus at all levels of the organization while listening to employer’s needs and solving problems.
  • Help your client identify their top 3-5 differentiators that make them competitive.
    • You may recommend that they write down a list of their top 10-15 strengths and pick 3-5 from this list when applying for a specific role.
    • You can help them adopt a positive attitude of sharing, in concise terms, their unique professional value with a focus on employer’s needs.
    • You can emphasize the necessity to research a target company, follow up, reach the hiring manager and build their LinkedIn network.

Understanding the Achievement-Based Resume Structure

As with all other applicants, mature workers may focus too much on job duties in their resumes.

To support your clients:

  • Explain how the resume logic evolved with a focus on readability (documents must be easy to skim) and measurable results (‘problem – action – result’ format).
  • Train mature workers to think in terms of how they solve problems and what outcomes they deliver (vs. process and experience).
  • Ask specific questions or develop questionnaires to help them articulate results.
  • Encourage them to prepare for interviews following the same achievement-based approach and think in terms of how they can help employers save money, make money, improve operations or address difficulties.

Understanding Current Job Application Cycles

Submitting a resume alone is not enough. Many mature workers may favour a resume spray approach where they send applications to 50+ open positions online, without prior knowledge of companies. Help them understand a job search strategy as a more focused, yet varied effort.

To support your clients:

  • Help them inform their immediate network (service providers, community organizations, extended family, former colleagues or clients, religious, sports or recreational affiliations, etc.) that they are looking for a new role.
  • Encourage your clients to create a list of 20 target employers and research them, follow them on social media, identify decision-makers and connect with them on LinkedIn.
  • Provide your clients with examples of networking messages that are brief, clear and authentic.
  • Help your clients understand the full cycle of the job application process:
    • customizing the application for each specific role
    • following up
    • networking online
    • building relationships while interviewing (for future opportunities)
    • “closing the sale” after in-person interviews with some form of 30-60-90-day plan or a list of their action items for the first month if they were to be hired.
  • Inspire your clients to be proactive at every stage of the application vs. waiting for a response. Help them understand that an online job application puts them in the pool of 100-200 other applicants and an interview invitation puts them in a pool of 2-6 other competitions. What will they do to keep standing out?

Throughout the process of working with mature workers, remind yourself of where they are coming from and how this informs their current motivation, approaches or challenges. By showing your understanding and acknowledgement of their current state, you can help them adopt new ways of looking for work faster, while finding the best approach for each individual.


TANYA MYKHAYLYCHENKO

Tanya Mykhaylychenko is a resume writer with a background in university teaching and IT staffing. She is a member of Editors Canada and Career Professionals of Canada.

Record Number of Self-Employed Seek In-house Roles During Pandemic
September 1, 2020
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A record 253,000 people moved from self-employment to employment in the second quarter of 2020 suggesting that workers are seeking more job security due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The move towards employment increased by 81,000 compared to the second quarter of 2019 which saw 172,000 people make the switch.

Compared to figures for the first quarter of 2020, the number of formerly self-employed employees rose by 48,000 from 205,000.

Between the first and second quarters of 2020, at the height of the pandemic, only 6% of people changed occupation, yet over half (53%) of those that did also switched their major industry, suggesting that they were seeking a career change as opposed to promotion.

Occupation switchers that have changed major industry between Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 2020. Source: ONS

The ONS suggested that the disproportionate effect the pandemic has had on some industries, like travel and hospitality, could have encouraged some peoples’ decisions to change their major industry.

The latest data from LinkedIn appears to support this trend according to its UK country manager Josh Graff.

Today’s [ONS] figures underscore the fact that we’re facing the toughest labour market in a generation. LinkedIn’s latest data shows that although hiring in the UK has been steadily improving since the steep decline we saw when lockdown measures were put in place, it’s still down on this time last year,” he said.

“Competition for roles has increased three fold and […] workers in the hardest hit industries are looking to other sectors as they seek out new opportunities.”

ONS data showed switching occupations between the first halves of 2019 and 2020 showed a slight increase of 0.4%. It said that this could be due to the effect of the government’s job retention schemes, which could be masking the true scale of UK unemployment, and predicted that the rate of occupational switching may rise as support unwinds in the months leading to 31 October.

Speaking to HR magazine Steve Warnham, jobs expert at Totaljobs, said the job site’s research supports this theory.

He said: “Yesterday’s ONS report revealed a slight increase in the number of people changing occupation in the second quarter of this year. Though this is a trend which is likely to become more prevalent as employment support, such as the UK’s Job Retention Scheme, comes to an end.”

In a survey from April, Totaljobs found 70% of UK workers said they have considered working in a different sector due to COVID-19, and a quarter said they expect to switch industries within the next year.

A desire for increased job security was the reason 32% of survey respondents said they were considering a career change in a different industry.

For Simon Kerr-Davis, counsel at Linklaters employment and incentives practice, he ONS figures are unsurprising. “In times of uncertainty, the perceived job security of employment status has much more appeal than the flexibility offered by self-employment,” he told HR magazine.

Yet he warned employees to be mindful of the perceived security offered by working for an organisation, as the statutory notice period for under two years’ service is just one week.

He added: “The right to a redundancy payment and protection from unfair dismissal also have service requirements and will only apply after two years’ service. There are some “day one” rights for employees which are significant, such as protection from discrimination and from suffering a detriment as a whistleblower, but these rights are also available to self-employed people who provide their services as “workers.”


More on employee redundancy rights:

Legal lowdown: Getting redundancies right

Coronavirus and its potential impact on employee rights

Businesses and ministers need more than redundancy pay law to protect employees


The ONS Coronavirus and occupational switching: January to June 2020 is based on data from the ongoing annual Labour Force Survey.

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals You Can Realistically Accomplish
July 16, 2020
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A case study by Lea McLeod, M.A., the founder of the Job Success Lab and author of  The Resume Coloring Book

It wasn’t working for my client, Miranda. She’d gotten her degree and was doing well in her role at a Big Four accounting firm, but something was missing.

Sure, she could keep going, receive generous compensation, and continue to advance. But deep down inside, no fireworks were going off; she couldn’t see herself on this path for the long term.

But like so many other employees who feel stuck, she didn’t know how to make a career pivot. On one hand, she wanted to reach for the stars, but on the other, she knew that she had limited experience in a specific industry and needed to be realistic about what she could pursue. Ultimately, she wanted to land a financial leadership role in the healthcare industry.

What Miranda learned is that if you want to change something; for example, chart a new path, ditch a boring job, or pivot in your career, you’ve got to start by setting a goal.

By working toward a goal, you end up getting much more than your desired outcome. Setting and achieving meaningful career goals provides three essential career nutrients: increased job satisfaction, higher self-esteem, and improved quality of your life.

But how do you form a right-size goal that’s ambitious, but doesn’t overwhelm you? Here are a few tips to help you truly understand how to achieve goals.

You Need Clarity

Studies show you’re more likely to succeed when your career goals are specific. So, start by peering into the future and creating a vision for your ideal self and career. What would that look like in one, three, or five years?

Ask yourself: What’s your job like? What kind of skills and responsibilities do you have? Who is your employer, and what is your job like? What are you totally awesome at? What kind of team do you work with?

When you clearly visualize your desired outcome, you begin to see the possibility of achieving it—and you can start taking steps to build your plan.

Miranda wanted a role at a regional healthcare organization, where she would oversee financial planning and reporting as part of a dynamic, progressive team—one with a culture that valued and respected its employees. And she wanted that position by June of 2020.

It Has to Challenge You—But With a Realistic Outcome

If you’re in your second year of public accounting, and your goal is to become CFO of Apple by the end of next year, you have your head in the clouds. Although you may know the basics of accounting, you have a long road ahead of you before you’ll be the CFO of one of the world’s largest companies. Just sayin’.

Miranda realized that for her desired outcome to actually be realistic, she’d need to acquire more knowledge and additional skills. So she did the research, spoke with people in similar jobs, and realized that by taking a few additional courses and volunteering as the part-time CFO of a small nonprofit, she could start acquiring the skills and knowledge to achieve her goal. And that made it imminently more realistic.

You Must Be Committed

I’ve heard so many people say, “I hate my job and need to make a change.” But they take zero action to make that change happen. They’ll give you a hundred reasons why they don’t go after that change, but you can boil them down to one: They simply aren’t committed to that goal.

If you believe your goal is important and attainable, you stand a much higher chance of succeeding.

Miranda committed to her goal by adopting a mindset that set her up for success—she saw herself achieving her goal. She was clear in her desired outcome, and perhaps most importantly, she was willing to share her goal with others, which held her accountable to making progress along the way.

You get commitment only when you are convinced that the goal is important to you and that it’s attainable.

Feedback Is Essential

Miranda identified a couple of key mentors and coaches to share her goals with and committed to providing them with regular updates.

To make sure she could provide a significant update every time she spoke with these mentors, she broke her ultimate goal into more bite sized action steps, which required shorter timeframes. For example, she set a goal to have one conversation per week with someone working in her desired industry and role. From those informational interviews, she identified potential target employers and what it takes to succeed in that role.

Each time she made some progress, she shared her insights with her mentors, and they helped her make tweaks to her other action steps based on what she was learning. Having a feedback process allowed her to stay motivated, stay on track, and feel a sense of accomplishments throughout the entire process. 

You Must Create the Right Conditions for Success

Successfully achieving your goal requires just two conditions: time and practice.

When Miranda set the goal to connect with one person a week, she did it for a good reason: It was a realistic goal that she knew she’d have time to accomplish. She could have said, “I’ll connect with seven people each week.” But given her current professional commitments, the complexity required to achieve that objective would have been overwhelming. By week two she likely would have fallen behind, become discouraged, and perhaps even given up.

To avoid burning out and quitting on unrealistic goals, create intermediate objectives that you have enough time to complete, given your real-life commitments.

Then, practice! Miranda was getting great relationship-building practice in her weekly networking meetings. She knew that would be essential for any career move she made. She was also getting great hands-on practice creating financial statements in her volunteer position. This gave her time to learn, experiment, and fail in a safe environment, while she kept moving her career plan forward.

I’m highly confident Miranda is going to achieve the career goal she set for herself. And when she does, it will be a huge win for her. Not only because she’ll achieve her desired outcome, but also because she’ll have built a fabulous winning experience on setting and achieving a career milestone—one step at a time.

Leaving the Only Job You’ve Ever Had?
July 9, 2020
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The following article by Caroline Rodrigue may be of interest to those looking for a career change.

Are you interested in making a career change but you’re feeling a bit paralyzed because you’ve never done that before? Like never ever?

If you’ve been in the same job (or with the same organization) for most of your working life, it can be downright scary to consider a job search. And sure, things have changed in the last 10, 20, or 30 years, but that doesn’t mean you can’t adapt and thrive!

Here are some tips for embracing a first-time job change and how to celebrate your new chapter.

Embracing change, for the first time

You’ve invested a lot of yourself into this one organization because you thought that, perhaps you’ll retire from the desk you’re sitting at right now. But things change and for whatever reason, you’re ready to move on.

The road ahead is unknown, and overcoming social stigmas of what is age- or life-stage appropriate may be challenging, so keep your eyes on the prize and embrace the chance to change it up! An opportunity to reinvent yourself is worth a few ruffled feathers.

Figure out where you want to go Read more

3 Signs You Are Stuck In Your Career
February 13, 2018
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This two-minute article, first published by Seek (NZ) may be of interest to those looking for inspiration about their next career move.

One of the problems with being stuck in your career is sometimes you don’t realise it. When you do finally figure it out it can often be a demotivating experience. So, the trick is to identify the signs before it happens.

Here are three questions to ask yourself to see if you’re in need of a change:

  1. Do I enjoy the work? Just for a moment think about the work you’re doing on a daily basis. Go through each of your tasks and responsibilities and take note of how you feel about them. For example, if one of your values as a professional is that you want to be consistently challenged, are you working on anything that’s helping you to grow as an individual?
    Read more