Kick Starting Your New Year

First, I want to start off by wishing all of you a very happy, safe, healthy and prosperous New Year.

happy new year

The holiday season typically provide us with an opportunity to reflect on the year behind us. What lessons did we learn? What would we do differently? What did we accomplish and what weren’t we able to cross off our list. As the new year begins most of us feel rejuvenated, optimistic, full of hope and revolve to make this year different.

This may include setting goals for a new job, home, travel, more money, etc. As you begin to define what you want to change, the how to get there will be a critical input to developing your roadmap.

elearning

If your sites are set on career changes you may want to explore enhancing your skill set. Virtual learning has come a long way over the last few years and now there are variety of free learning options that cater to how you want to learn.

  1. Leverage your company’s eLearning library for education/training programs.
  2. Take advantage of social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ . You can join free groups, participate in conversations, projects, webinars, events and industry discussions.
  3. Sites like Coursera offer college/university level courses taught by professors for free!
  4. One of my personal favourites; YouTube. It’s not just for music videos. It offers instructional videos, how to’s, etc. It’s one of my main go to’s when I need just in time learning.

Upgrading your skills in an evolving market is always a good idea. It demonstrates your willingness to learn new things and keep relevant. Take a few moments to think about what new skills or training you would like to acquire and how that may help you align with your roadmap.

Maybe you’re quite happy with your job but would like to get a better sense of what’s happening within your coffee chatcompany or out there (in your industry). The start of the new year should also be a re-examination of relationships.  Remove those who are toxic and draining. Toxic relationships erode your self-confidence and leave you feeling inadequate. Toss them in the garbage! Draining relationships are ones that are typically one sided, all about the other person. Hey it’s time to put yourself first! Time to let go and move on to relationships that are fulfilling for both parties.

I am a firm believer in meeting new people. Not only does it expand your social network, but it also stimulates your communication and inter-personal skills. It removes complacency and makes us more self-aware. Take some time to build networks both within and outside your organization. How about making a goal to network with six people this year? That’s one every two months.

  1. Pick two people you sparingly interact with at work. Schedule a coffee to learn more about what they do and connect.
  2. Pick two people from your external network that are acquaintances. If they live in another city/location schedule virtual coffee using tools like Google HangOut, Skype, Facetime, What’sapp, etc. so you can still maintain the visual connection.
  3. Pick to two people in your community. Building and cultivating your network can be an important step in helping you make connections to realize your end goals.
  4. Build your networks through LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Google+. Increasing your network will give you more visibility to other professionals.

LinkedIn_edit_profile

Regardless of your end goals, as I wrote in my blog post How to Articulate Your Accomplishments for Your Performance Review, make a point of updating your online profile(s) to include accomplishments, skills and projects you have completed. This will boost your brand and showcase your skills.

Finally, and most importantly, balance your professional goals and objectives with your personal goals and objectives. The way we feel is the foundation of

how we project ourselves to our family, friends and work colleagues. Feeling positive about you should be your number one priority. Maybe it’s time to take up a new hobby or start an exercise routine. Having this balance will help put you into the right frame of mind to focus and achieve your goals. I am particularly passionate about this.

My personal journey to re-focus on health and wellness started in 2013. I felt I was overweight which caused me to be lethargic and more introverted. The final straw was when I went to my cousins wedding and looked at pics of myself. I didn’t like what I sahealthylifestylew. I decided I need to do something to improve my well being. That year I started an exercise routine and started eating more natural foods. Within six months I lost close to 40 pounds and 6 dress sizes. I had a lot of support and encouragement along the way. I’ve managed to stick to my routine and have kept the weight off for more than a year. More importantly, I feel better and have more energy. It’s transformed my attitude, relationships and way of thinking. Make it a priority and find time to spend on yourself. How can you start?

  1. Exercise 3 times a week for 30 minutes (cardio)
  2. Reduce your sugar intake
  3. Reduce your  processed food intake
  4. Eat frequently with smaller meals throughout the day

We all think we don’t have time, but with a little sacrifice, you can reap big rewards.

As for me…I am thankful I had a great year last year and feel very optimistic for the year ahead.

I would love to hear what you have planned for the year ahead. I wish you every sucess in achieving your goals. Tweet me @annzaliebarrett

Advertisements

What Will Be the Title of Your 2014 Chapter?

happy new year

First, I want to start off by wishing all of you a very happy, safe, healthy and prosperous New Year. As the New Year begins, it provides a sense of optimism, opportunity and possibilities. I like to think of it as ending the chapter of the previous year and starting a new chapter charting your course for the year ahead.  So what will the  title of your 2014 chapter be? For some the chapter may contain goals for a new job, home, travel, more money, etc. The title of your chapter can guide you on creating a plan to help you achieve those goals. It can serve as an anchor to remind you what you set out for the year.

elearning

If your 2014 chapter has aspirations for a promotion or career change (and of course more money), consider exploring development opportunities that may be available to you through your company’s eLearning tool or education/training programs. Social networking tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ also have free groups you can join to participate in conversations, projects, webinars, events and industry discussions. Upgrading your skills in an evolving market is always a good idea.

It demonstrates your willingness to learn new things and keep relevant. Take a few moments to think about what new skills or training you would like to acquire and how that may help you align with your holistic career plan.

Maybe you’re quite happy win your job but would like to get a better sense of what’s happening within your coffee chatcompany or out there (in your industry). The start of the new year should also be the start of new relationships. Take some time to build networks both within and outside your organization. I am a firm believer that different perspectives can help you make a more informed decision about what’s happening both beside you and around you. How about making a goal to network with six people this year? That’s one every two months.  Perhaps three people internally and three people externally. Maybe they’re acquaintances that you casually interact with that you would like to get to know better. Build you networks through LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Google+. Pick a few people and reach out to them. If  you can’t meet in person, set up a virtual coffee. Building and cultivating your network can be an important step in helping you make connections to realize your end goals.

LinkedIn_edit_profile

Regardless of your end goals. as I wrote in my last blog post How to Articulate Your Accomplishments for Your Performance Review, make a point of updating your online profiles to include accomplishments, skills and projects you completed. Having an updated profile helps build your brand and showcase your updated skills.

Finally, and most importantly, incorporate your personal goals and objectives into your 2014 chapter. The way we feel is the foundation of
healthylifestyle

how we project ourselves to our family, friends and work colleagues. Feeling positive about you should be your number one priority. Maybe it’s time to take up a new hobby or start an exercise routine. Having balance helps put you into the right frame of mind to focus and achieve your goals.

As for me…the title of my 2014 chapter will be an expansion of my 2013 continuous improvement philosophy, simply: “Expanding My Perspectives Through learning”.That will include both professional and personal goals.

I look forward to hearing what titles you come up with for this year. I wish you every success in achieving your goals. Tweet me @annzaliebarrett !

How To Articulate Your Accomplishments for Your Performance Review

It’s hard to believe we’re nearing the end of the year. For me, it seems like just yesterday it was the end of summer and fall was in the air. Reality check; it’s December and that typically means annual performance review time.

writers-block-atlantic-webworks

For most of us, this time of year can be stressful as we try to document our performance by reflecting back on our contributions and accomplishments. In larger organizations it doesn’t just stop at individual performance assessments. Calibration sessions are held to compare you against others across departments to justify ratings. So it’s important to take time to clearly and succinctly illustrate how you delivered against your goals. One of the most important questions you, as an employee, need to be able to answer during your performance review is…Why should you get the rating you are asking for? If you are self-managed, a Telecommuter,  or didn’t have an “active” Manager work with you through the year, it’s even more important to use examples to build your case. Managers don’t always have insight into your accomplishments or remember feedback from others. It’s up to you to weave them into your performance assessment in a meaningful and appropriate way.

Here are a few suggestions to help you document your annual accomplishments and deliverables to position the rating you want:

  1. Build a habit of documenting your accomplishments throughout the year: As an employee it’s a good practice to keep email_folderstrack of the work and successes you’ve had throughout the year. If you wait until mid-year or year end to try and recall your deliverables you may forget important accomplishments. Here are few things you can do track throughout the year:
    1. Use Email Folders: If you get feedback via email take moment to create a performance folder in your email system. That way you can file your feedback through the year and pull it out to refresh your memory when you’re ready to start writing your assessment.
    2. Use your Performance system: If you have an ERP/performance system, book a 15 minute meeting in your calendar each month to update accomplishments against your goals. You can then pare down your contributions during your mid-year and annual review.

     

  2. Use specific examples to articulate how your work mapped back to your goals: Goals are formulated according to Create-Smart-Goals

S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely) principles. As such they are typically broad. Use specific examples of your deliverables (specific results) as evidence on how you met and/or exceeded your goals. Let’s look at an example:

Goal: Expand Managers knowledge of social media sourcing options

Documenting deliverable option 1: Through conversations with Managers I spoke with them about social media to help educate them on sourcing effectiveness. Many of the Managers I work with now use social media as a sourcing option for their vacancies.

Documenting deliverable option 2: During my intake conversations with Managers I took some time to speak to them about using social media as a viable sourcing option. I used a variety of approaches to help show them why social media was an important avenue to source. An example of how I achieved this was working with Manager X for the RequisitionTitle.

Manager X had traditionally used job boards and staffing agencies to attract candidates for their role. Through my partnership and advice I worked with Manager X to position how we could use social media as a sourcing option for their role. During my intake conversation I worked with Manager X to get a thorough understanding of the requirements of the candidate profile. Once we had agreement, I showed them how I could generate a list of potential candidates within minutes through a LinkedIn search based on those criteria. I showed Manager X how the targeted search brought back relevant, qualified individuals rather than waiting and relying on applicants which we would later have to screen into the candidate pool. I also supplemented this approach by sharing our job aides with Manager X on how they could use their LinkedIn, Facebook and/or Twitter accounts to cross share their job to their network. I also suggested ways they could identify people within their network as viable candidates we may want to contact.

As a result of our social media approach we ended up hiring a candidate from LinkedIn. At the end of the process I asked Manager X about their experience using social media as a viable sourcing channel. They were pleasantly surprised by the results and were appreciative to learn about newer ways to find ideal candidates. Manager X is now a convert, and will use social media as viable sourcing channels for upcoming vacancies. This was also reflected in the survey feedback I received from Manager X. Manager X also sent an email (see attachment) expressing their thanks for my guidance and time in utilizing new and innovative approaches to sourcing.

So, in two examples above, the first option speaks to how the goal was met. However it doesn’t provide any specific examples on how it was met. This makes your assessment subjective. The second option provides a more detailed approach to articulating how the deliverable was met. By outlining how you approached the situation, showing the before and after, then backing it up with some  metrics/feedback, it makes your assessment objective. The last sentence also wove in the email feedback relevant to the example provided.

good_job
3.      Demonstrate how you’ve taken feedback to improve: Always make a point of regularly asking your Manager for feedback. There two reasons for this. First, if there are areas for improvement you want an opportunity to have time to address it. Secondly, if there aren’t any areas for improvement it should serve as confirmation you are carrying out your goals and deliverables well. There shouldn’t be any surprises at year-end. In your annual assessment use some specific examples to show how you’ve incorporated constructive feedback and/or coaching to improve. Not only does it show a positive attitude, it also shows your wi


4.     
Showcase your star performance through your summary:  You are your best PR 

star_performer

person. You have to do a good job of  selling your own performance. Managers rely on this as they need good examples to take into calibration sessions. Each year should be seen as a journey of your learning, development and accomplishments. Use the summary section of your performance assessment as a reflection of  one key item against each of these buckets during the past year. Remember use specific exampl


I hope these few tips will help you build the confidence to document your deliverables, accomplishments and fantastic feedback in an appropriate way that is easy for both you and your Manager to use in your performance review

I wish you good luck and all the very best for the New Year ahead!

By Ann Barrett; Director, eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy