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

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How Does Big Data Impact You?

Big data has become a big topic in the industry. It’s transforming business strategies by providing companies with key information in the areas of talent, social media, mobile, brand, engagement, products, consumer preferences, etc. So what exactly is big data and how does it impact you?

big_data2Wikipedia defines big data as a collection of sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications1. Basically, as more people start to use technology to facilitate transactions more digital data is being collected and stored. At its core, mobile devices, the internet and social media capture multiple terabytes of information. Consider by 2015, the world’s mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion people2. That’s one out of every six people on the planet will use a mobile device to conduct work. With all of this volume traditional data warehouses can no longer store all of the data being collected. eCommerce companies such as AdKu have created a niche market, offering their services to collect data analyse it, correlate it and highlight both positive and negative trends. This provides a goldmine of rich data. Historical data can be analyzed and used to forecast potential trends and consumer preferences which can be built into business strategic plans.

You are also impacted by big data. Accessing information via technology leaves a digital footprint of demographics, preferences, number of visits, number of shares, etc; which shapes the way products and services are being developed, marketed and delivered to you.

Here are three examples of how big data impacts you:

  • Tailored Digital MarketingYou may notice on your Facebook news feeds you are now presented suggested_postwith “suggested posts” better known as ads.  These posts are not random, but based on big data analysis that serves up targeted, relevant suggestions based on historical trends such as pages you’ve visited, pages you like, search results, etc. Almost all social platforms have an analytics component build into them. Whether you’re on Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and of course Google, companies can use this data to better to understand who their audience is and what content is resonating with them. This subtle, yet effective marketing technique has transformed the way businesses reach potential customers. By looking at historical data and analyzing trends, companies can predict products you may be interested in. Instead of casting a wide net, big data provides the opportunity to cast a smaller, highly relevant net. The end result is higher sales.
  • Volume Discounts– The concept of discounted prices for consumer items on-line is not new. If you’ve ever used hotels.com or hotwire.com to book a hotel, you will know these companies buy rooms strategyin bulk and allow consumers to purchase them at discounted rates. This model has now evolved where groups of consumers can buy a variety of discounted products on online through digital coupons, or Groupons. The consumer will only get the deal if a number of other people also buy the coupon. To help reach the minimum, Groupon encourages sharing the deal with friends on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Digital coupons provide the opportunity to collect information and begin to analyze consumer supply and demand trends on a per month, week, day, and even hourly basis[3]. To understand these trends Groupon acquired Adku, an eCommerce company specializing in big data. Analysis on this data means more relevant deals are served up to consumers increasing user adoption and sales. As coupons are shared, more consumer data can be collected and analyzed.
  • Your Career-. Many companies are moving to more sophisticated human resources management systems (HRMS) as a one stop shop to assess talent within the organization. Newer systems are geared to “manage” talent, shifting away from pure transaction processing.open big data Companies can collect and store data pertaining to work experiences, projects, goals, deliverables, performance ratings, work history, job levels, age, gender, accreditations, etc. Many systems also integrate social media accounts such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Add to that other system integrations such as applicant tracking systems, payroll systems, background checks, on boarding, etc; and the amount of data that can be analyzed collectively is exponential. This big data provides a wealth of information to companies seeking to understand talent pools, succession planning, retention, etc. at macro and micro levels. Companies can also use data to better understand how overarching enterprise objectives are being imbedded and delivered down the chain. This provides a holistic view of an employee over time and may serve to predict which individuals are top talent.

So your contribution and interaction with big data is inevitable. Next time you see a tailored ad remember big data predicted it!

By Ann Barrett, Director, eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

[1] Wikipedia.com
[2] IDC, Worldwide Mobile Worker Population 2011-2015 Forecast, Doc#232073, Dec 2011
[3] http://steinvox.com/blog/groupon-big-data-play-winning-startups-focus/#ixzz2VpVJ9lwl