Getting Gender Diversity Right

You undoubtedly want to make sure your Southern California company enjoys a diverse employee pool when it comes to the number of the men and the number of women who work for you.

We’ve put together five strategies that can help you do so. Take a look below.

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  1. Embrace the fact that women bring a great deal of talent to the table.

Senior management needs to understand this most of all because gender diversity starts at the top and trickles down. Managers and members of the C-suite need to set an example. Your firm should embrace a diversified, inclusive workforce because it not only brings a great deal of new and different perspectives into the workplace, it also enhances a company’s business performance.

  1. Take a look at all of your HR policies and get rid of gender biases.

Revamp policies that either actually do – or even just appear to – benefit men over women. Review your training and management grooming policies to make sure women are given the same career development prospects.

Also, make sure you train hiring managers and recruiters to be aware of their unconscious biases when making hiring decisions. Make sure you do not shame anyone as you ask them to take a close look at their own partialities: everyone has some level of unconscious bias.

  1. Don’t just think about “making sure” you hire more women: include

It may take some work, but aim to transform your company culture into one that automatically includes women in everything you do. Need more technicians? Make the effort to train hiring managers to look for female techs as a matter of course. In other words, don’t look at gender diversity as something you have to do to be compliant with today’s equality laws; instead, embrace it as a “part of a vibrant organizational culture.”

  1. Consider hiring someone to focus solely on increasing gender diversity.

Your human resources director already has to concentrate on many different things. Instead of asking her to put one more critical task on to her overly full plate, put the resources behind your push for gender diversification and hire someone to focus only on increasing diversity.

  1. Think long-term rather than merely short-term.

The United Nations has asked that leaders from businesses throughout the world work to have 50-50 gender equality by 2030. (It’s part of the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals for the world.)

Get started on meeting this goal now, or take the risk that your competitors will beat you, thereby becoming magnets for the best and brightest of female talent, talent you really can’t afford to lose.

Helpmates Staffing can help you meet all diversity goals. We have connections with many of the region’s best candidates in healthcare, HR, finance, administration, and warehouse/distribution. Contact the recruiting professionals in the office nearest you to learn more about how we can help fill your workforce with the best talent Southern California has to offer.

The False Reasons We Give to Stay Put

How often have you thought, “It’s time I really take charge of my professional life and ask for that raise/change careers/move to a better employer/get that college degree so that I can advance in my career.”

And then you do….nothing.

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You’re not alone. After all, who hasn’t dreamed of saying adios to the status quo and just….making a major move!

But too often we only think about making a big change in our work life or career and take none of the steps necessary to get us where we want to go.

What’s more, we almost always come up with one or more excuses – um, reasons — why we can’t make the change. And, let’s be honest here: they truly aren’t reasons; they are excuses we provide ourselves because – let’s be honest – we’re scared. Totally, utterly, scared.

Need proof? Take a look below at three false reasons we give ourselves when we’re actually too afraid to make a move.

  1. It’s not that bad right now where I’m at in my life/career. I enjoy the work and the pay’s decent. Why change?

Ask yourself this: if you say “it’s not that bad right now,” why aren’t you really saying “it’s terrific!”? In other words, “not that bad” is a far cry from “terrific,” right? “Not that bad,” is code for “I’m scared of change/scared I’ll fail/scared I’ll hate any big change I might make.”

In other words, “not that bad” really means “I’ve given up hope things truly could be terrific.”

Don’t let yourself be “that guy.” You know: the guy (or gal) who reaches the end of life and wonders “what if.”

  1. I can’t afford it.

Yes, you may not be able to make a big change right now. After all, if you have debt or you need to support a family, making an abrupt change definitely is a bad idea.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t start moving forward. Have too much debt? Look into ways you can pay it off.

Want to change careers but need more education to do so and you can’t afford it right now? Talk to a financial advisor at the school of your choice. You may find it has scholarships or grants it can recommend. At the least you will know how much the education will cost and you can start saving budgeting now.

Want to start a business? You may not be able to quit your job now, but there’s nothing stopping you from starting a side-gig and growing it over time while you toil at your day job.

“It’s too expensive,” often really means “I don’t want to do the extra work or make the additional effort to pay down debt/side a side hustle/go back to school.”

If that’s the case, own it. Don’t hide behind supposed poor financials. You’d be amazed how things can come to fruition once you acknowledge that money really isn’t the problem.

  1. I’ve worked so hard to get to this point in my career; I can’t just give it all up now.

This is an example of believing the sunk-cost fallacy, which is a belief that because you’ve put so much money, effort or education into something you should continue doing it because it cost you so much. But in reality the money/time, is already spent (it’s a sunk cost). Leaving it will cost you nothing more and you’ll get nothing more from staying with it, either.

For example: you buy tickets to see your favorite band. Tickets are $200 each and you ask your girlfriend to join you. But by the time the concert rolls around in three months your girlfriend has dumped you, your heart is broken and you’ve no desire to go see the band because it’s too painful to do so without her but you don’t want to “waste” your money.

So don’t go! The money is already spent! You won’t get it back by going. It’s a sunk cost: it’s gone.

The sunk-cost fallacy often has cost people far more than $400 spent on a concert: people stick with a losing stock because they paid so much for it, for example. In your case, you’re staying in a career or at a job because you’ve put so much into it. That time and effort are sunk costs. They are gone! You should go, too.

If you think it’s finally time to take the first step to a better job, contact Helpmates. We connect people living in Los Angeles and Orange counties with some of the region’s best employers, so call or visit the office nearest you to learn more about how we can help get you where you want to go.

What Your Employees Might Ask For (If They Felt Brave)

Think your employees are happy as the proverbial clam? They very well could be!

But chances also are good that there are a few things they would ask for if they felt brave enough to do so. Such as? Read below.

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  1. Better or fair compensation.

Many studies show that salary is not the be all and end all when it comes to employee happiness. But, seriously? Money does matter, and it appears it does so a bit more now that employees feel the recession is long over and they are looking to “recoup losses” as well as make up for higher healthcare premiums and reductions in benefits.

  1. Continuing education opportunities.

Millennials especially want career-enhancing continuing education opportunities. The Center for Talent Innovation released a study last year that found that 73 percent of this particular generation believe it’s important to have the chance to learn additional professional skills.

They’re not alone: everyone appreciates learning something new, especially in this changing-on-a-dime-every-second job market of ours. Employees know that if they’re not learning new technologies and strategies, they’re becoming obsolete.

Continuing education benefits could include in-house seminars, opportunities to earn certificates and degrees (partially paid for or fully reimbursed by the employer), the chance to go to off-site conferences and seminars, etc.

  1. Better workplace technology.

You ask a lot of your employees and judge them by their productivity, efficiency and goals met. Yet are you providing them with the tools they need to meet these challenges? For example, are you asking your sales people to make 100 cold calls a week but not providing them with an up-to-date CRM?

And if you think your technology is up-to-snuff, you may want to check with your employees: fully one in three say the equipment they have at home is better than what they have to work with at the office!

  1. More flexibility in where work is completed and when.

Unless your employees must deal with customers or clients face-to-face all the time, consider offering them the chance to complete work when they want and from where they want. Deadlines must be met, of course, but does it really matter if a worker finishes the project at midnight from home the day before?

Many of your exempt employees probably already are working on weekends and after hours. Why not give them the flexibility to do that which needs to be done when they feel it’s best to do it? And from where it’s best to do it?

Telecommuting may not work for every employee or for every employer, of course, but because technology has made it so easy for your team members to work for you during their “off” hours, why not allow them more where-and-when flexibility all the time?

Every enterprise wants the right employees in place. Here at Helpmates, we connect companies across Orange and Los Angeles counties with outstanding talent. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you find great people for your business.

Shout “I Got the Job!”: Acing the Interview

A resume gets you an interview. Your references and skills back up what a great fit you are for the position.

The interview is what gets you the job.

On the top of it, that sounds like a lot of pressure: it’s do-or-die time at the job interview! But let us reassure you: it’s not that hard to ace a job interview. It’s truly not, especially if you look at in two ways:

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  1. It’s the place where you can show a hiring manager what you’ve got.
  2. Remember that it’s also your time to check the company out to decide if it would be a good match for you.

Strategies that Can Help a Hiring Manager Say “When Can You Start?”

While we really do believe that job interviews can be enjoyable, the best interviews take a lot of preparation up front (they take some effort, in other words). Remind yourself: no winging it at a job interview. Never.

Instead, a key factor in getting a job offer is to make sure you take the time needed to do the following:

  1. Research the company. A ton. As in considerable research.

We told you good job interviews come about because of effort on your part. And most of that effort occurs long before you shake hands with the hiring manager. As soon as you set a date for an in-person meeting – or even “just” a phone interview – it’s time to crack open the Internet and get studying!

Visit the company’s website and read all of it, if possible. Every last page. Read its blog. Read the bios of its executives. If it’s a publically traded company, check out its Investor Relations tab and read all of the company’s latest financial statements, especially its SEC filings. (These are goldmines, especially the quarterly reports – often called 10Qs – because they report in great detail what the company did that quarter, and what its plans are for the future. SEC filings are better than reading the company’s annual report because they are detailed and gloss over – spin – nothing.)

Studying these reports gives you great insights into a company’s goals, successes and challenges. What’s more, just watch – really, watch! – the hiring manager’s eyes get big with excitement when you say “I read your latest quarterly report about your acquisition of XYZ company. I have two years’ experience with acquisition accounting procedures. Let me tell you about improvements I made for my current employer’s latest acquisition.”

The idea behind this research is not to do the minimal and call it a day. Really dig into the meat of a company’s website, reports, etc. Look for news releases. Google it and see what gossip comes up.

If you know the hiring manager’s name, check her out on LinkedIn (after all, she undoubtedly took a look at your profile). Find out what you have in common and learn about her work experience, education and skill sets.

The more you know about a company the better. It truly will impress your interviewer and will allow you to talk intelligently and strategically about how your background and skills will help the company reach its goals.

  1. Practice the interview with a trusted friend, family member or mentor.

Practice can be especially helpful if this is your first job interview, if you’ve been on just a few or if this is an interview for your first “real” job after high school or college.

Google “typical interview questions in XX ” (human resources, manufacturing, marketing, banking, etc.), print them out and prepare for them. Ask your friend to play the interviewer and ask the questions. Practice asking some questions yourself. Practice answering the questions as asked and then moving them slightly so that you can talk about how your skills and background specifically apply: “I want to work in your medical office because I understand you are expanding and I’d love to help you create efficient patient in-take systems, thus helping you see patients more quickly and cutting down on their wait time. At my last employer I was able to revise the in-patient process such that ….”

You may think that having the interviewer do most of the talking is a good thing (less pressure!), but you want to be sure you are able to tell the employer why hiring you benefits her.

  1. Make a strong, positive first impression.

For good or for ill, the first seconds of a job interview can make or break the interview. Even the very first second. You need to make sure yours is the best it can be. Look the hiring manager straight in the eye as you approach with your arm outstretched to shake hands. Shake firmly, but don’t crush her hand. Wait to sit down until invited to. Call the interviewer Ms. or Mr.  unless told otherwise.

Wear business-type attire, even if you’re looking for work in a warehouse setting. If this is so, khaki slacks and a collared, long-sleeved shirt should suffice (no sneakers, and if you really want to impress, you might wear a tie and a jacket, although they are not necessary). Any office job requires a tie and jacket for men. At least a dress and jacket/dress pants and a blouse for women. If going for any type of professional position, suits for both men and women are appropriate.

Dull and boring? Perhaps. But you’re not there to show off your creative side (unless you work in marketing, and you can save the creative outfits for once you get the job). Yes, most offices are business casual today. But you want to come across as a serious candidate, and one to be taken seriously. It’s always best to overdress than under dress for a job interview.

If you’ve never been to the company before, if possible, make a trip before the interview to see how long it will take you to drive or take the bus: you don’t want to be a minute late, and if you find you will be, call and let the interviewer know.

Here at Helpmates, we want you to get the job and we’ll do all we can to help you land a great one. Contact the Helpmates office nearest you today.

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