Leadership

Are You Giving Back to Your Community?

During the holiday season, many people lend a hand or spare a dollar to a special cause. But this year, giving back may be more of a sacrifice for some because of the unsteady economy. Making a financial contribution to your favorite charity may be out of the question this year, but you can still offer your time and talents to benefit an organization of your choice. Here are three reasons you should volunteer this holiday season.

Gaining Experience – Whether you’re looking to break into a new field or just want to hone your current skills, volunteering can give you the additional experience you need. Many non-profit organizations don’t have the resources to hire someone to perform certain tasks such as creating a newsletter, planning a fundraiser, or reconciling accounts. So, if you have specific talents, you can help your favorite charity by donating your time and offering to complete the projects that may otherwise go undone.

Growing Your Network – When you get to know others who work or volunteer for an organization, you’ll be making contacts in the community that can help you in a job search. Networking is reciprocal, so even if you’re not looking for a job, your contact may be able to find a job opportunity through you. Plus, if your friends or family members are looking for a new opportunity, you may be able to point them in the right direction because of the connections you’ve made.

Boosting Your Résumé – You can list your volunteer experience on your résumé to demonstrate that you’re willing to give your time and talents to help your community. Employers look for well-rounded individuals who are involved in activities outside their job, because these candidates bring more than just the required job skills to the position.

Consider volunteering for a charity in your community whether you’re looking to build up your résumé, land a better job, or give back. Non-profit organizations are always looking for extra help, and this holiday season is as great a time as ever to start. It will even add to your holiday cheer to help others in need as you’re reminded of your own blessings. 

5 Tips to Empower Your Team

Employers often times want to empower their employees, but they don’t always know quite how to go about it. Empowering employees is crucial to the survival, expansion and growth of your business. It not only creates employee satisfaction but increases productivity and morale. Here are five tips to empower your employees.

  1. Ask for input. It can be hard to ask for ideas and suggestions from staff members if your department isn’t used to working together on projects as a team. But, who knows your customers better than the employees who interact with them on a daily basis? And for internal issues, employees are in the midst of the daily activities and can contribute valuable information for making things better. These employees know what will work both internally and externally to make everyone happy. By allowing all your employees to actively add input, you will not only add value to your clients, but you will add value to your staff as well.
  2. Reinforce with positive feedback. Make sure your employees know when they have done a job well. Many employers may avoid consistently giving positive feedback to employees because they believe employees are just doing their jobs and shouldn’t require recognition. However, employees often become unmotivated when they hear only negative feedback. Employees who feel respected and valued within their departments will perform better on their tasks and are more likely to stay loyal to your company.
  3. Designate leaders. It is important to delegate projects and tasks to individual employees and give them authority over specific projects because it gives them a sense of value within the organization. They begin to see the goals of the company more clearly and feel more a part of the process. Assign projects to high-performing employees and make them leaders on individual tasks. This will not only help alleviate your own workload, but it also gives your employees an opportunity to shine.
  4. Mentor your employees. The most successful companies are the ones that invest in their most valuable assets, their people. Investing in your employees’ developmental growth not only benefits them, but it also benefits your company. Instead of focusing on just being their boss or managing your team, try being your employees’ mentor. Focus on coaching them to success. Help them achieve not only the department or company goals, but their personal career goals as well. Find out where they want to be in the next year, or even five years, and help them achieve their goals by giving them the tools they need to develop and become successful.
  5. Encourage open communication. Make sure that you clearly communicate your goals, projects and ideas, and encourage your employees do the same. Establish an environment where employees are comfortable expressing their comments and feel free to experiment with new ideas. Encourage your employees to contribute in brainstorming activities and commend them for their feedback. This will generate new ideas and establish a more team-oriented atmosphere.

Empowering your employees doesn’t have to be difficult. By following these five tips, you will start to see a difference in your employees’ attitudes, improved respect among co-workers and an increase in productivity. Employers will also see leaders rising to the challenges of more responsibility and a sense of ownership and pride in their employees’ work.