Tag Archives: culture

Millennial Monday: The Workplace Millennials Want

Millennial Monday LogoExpress Employment Professionals recently teamed up with the School of Media and Strategic Communications at Oklahoma State University (OSU) in Stillwater, OK, to conduct research about Millennials and their attitudes toward the American Dream. Also known as “Gen Y,” Millennials were born between 1979 and 1995 and currently make up 30% of the population. As they enter the workforce and establish career paths, it’s important to understand the motives and desires behind this robust generation. To help you get to know “Gen Y,” Movin’ On Up is bringing you an eight-week series titled “Millennial Monday.”

In this week’s installment of “Millennial Monday,” Express and OSU students surveyed Millennials, the majority of whom are working full or part time, to paint a picture of the generation’s view of the perfect workplace.

A Trendy Culture
For every generation, the image of a perfect workplace is different. As our society changes and technology increases, newer generations look for flexible and remote opportunities, work-life balance, and the right culture fit. For Millennials, a company’s culture can be the deciding factor when it comes to accepting a job offer.

When asked to rank the aspects of a company in order of importance, survey respondents chose “social media presence” as the most important, followed closely by “latest technology.” Also ranked were “speed and timeliness” and “friendly and interactive customer service.”

Elements of An Ideal Workplace
When it comes to what makes up an ideal workplace, respondents selected, in the following order:

  • Treated fairly
  • Involved with the community
  • Informal
  • Small groups
  • Warm temperatures
  • Formal
  • Large groups
  • Cold temperatures

Pay or Passion
As far as picking between a job with high pay and a job that they’re passionate about, Millennials know what they want. According to the survey, an overwhelming majority of Millennials (80%) would rather have a job that they’re passionate about. For the remaining 20%, pay is more important to job satisfaction.

A Better Boss
According to the survey, the qualities Millennials value in a boss are, in the following order:

  • Reasonable expectations
  • Relatable
  • Punctual
  • Laid back
  • Someone you consider a friend
  • Stern

Best Time for Productivity
At what point in the day do you perform at your highest level? If you’re like the majority of Millennials (37%), you work best from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Other peak performance times include 12 to 3 p.m. (24%) and 7 p.m. or later (16%). The worst time for productivity, according to the survey results, is before 7 a.m. (2%).

The Effects of Natural Light
When asked if they perform better in environments with a high amount of natural light, the majority of respondents (59%) reported that they do. For 5% of people, natural light does not help them perform better, followed by an additional 35% who don’t think the amount of natural light in their workplace affects their job performance.

The Importance of Fitness
Many businesses realize there are numerous benefits to promoting a healthy culture in the workplace, from offering wellness initiatives to gym memberships. Placing importance on fitness can serve companies well with the younger generations. In fact, 67% of surveyed Millennials agree that they are more likely to be attracted to a company that has a highly active culture.

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Do you agree with the survey results? What does your ideal workplace look like? Share with us in the comments section below!

Keep checking Movin’ On Up every Monday for more insight on this important generation.

Miss a week? Click the links below to check out previous topics in our series.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Millennial Monday: First Generation Millennials and the American Dream

COM16MM_AmericanDream_1200X900Express Employment Professionals recently teamed up with the School of Media and Strategic Communications at Oklahoma State University (OSU) in Stillwater, OK, to conduct research about Millennials and their attitudes toward the American Dream. Also known as “Gen Y,” Millennials were born between 1979 and 1995 and currently make up 30% of the population. According to The Council of Economic Advisers for the White House, “Millennials are now the largest, most diverse generation in the U.S.” As they enter the workforce and establish career paths, it’s important to understand the motives and desires behind this robust generation. To help you get to know “Gen Y,” Movin’ On Up is bringing you an eight-week series titled “Millennial Monday.”

In this week’s installment of “Millennial Monday,” Express and OSU students surveyed Millennials, the majority of whom are working full- or part-time, to paint a picture of the generation’s view of heritage and its effect on the American Dream. (more…)

These Surprising Skills May Land You a Job This Year

skills_to_get_hired_webAt this point in your career or job search, you’ve probably heard a lot about skills. There are hard skills, like typing and reading, and soft skills, like etiquette and time management. You know that you should seek ways to sharpen your leadership abilities and brush up on your communication talents. But, today’s business world is constantly changing, which means the skills employers seek are, too. In fact, there are a few surprising skills you may not even know you need to improve your chances of landing a job this year.

According to FastCompany, there are eight career skills that will not only help you secure interviews, but also seal the deal with a potential employer. Among those skills are some familiar qualities, like strong communication skills and the desire to learn. Employers are always looking for people who know how to communicate effectively, no matter their role in the company, and you should never turn down the opportunity to learn a new skill, equipment, or ability.

There are other skills FastCompany mentioned, however, that are not so common. Let’s take a look at the abilities you may not know you need.

Knowledge of Other Cultures
According to Paula Caligiuri, professor of international business and strategy at Northeastern University, leaders rank working with people from different cultures as their weakest skill. This weakness could be because they lack the opportunity to work with other cultures, or because they aren’t aware of its importance. Paula says that when you study and interact with other cultures, you learn tolerance, perspective, and humility. These are all traits that employers like to see, so take some time to learn about other cultures and sharpen your knowledge of how business works in countries other than your own.

A Global Mind-Set
Did you know that the fastest-growing economies are in Asia and South America? Businesses today benefit from knowing how prosperous countries are doing business, growing, and succeeding. If you know how to market, sell, and communicate to those countries, you automatically make yourself an ideal candidate for employers who need those skills on their team.

Effective Conflict Resolution
Conflict exists in virtually every workplace. But, how you deal with that conflict says a lot about you. Companies want to find employees who work well with others and know how to effectively resolve conflict. Take some time to learn skills that help you address issues as they arise and sort through conflict, like communication skills and anger management. Many employers will rule out a candidate if they don’t know how to resolve conflict, so make sure you aren’t one of them.

An Understanding of Analytics
According to Merriam Webster, the study of analytics is “a careful study of something to learn about its parts, what they do, and how they are related to each other.” It’s also classified as “an explanation of the nature and meaning of something.” In your career field, analytics may mean the study of how many visitors the company website attracts, how many customers are buying products, or which days of the week are better for your business. Whatever it may be, understanding how to read and decipher such information is essential to successfully stand out from the job search competition. Be sure to brush up on your ability to research and sort data, and include examples of how you’ve used analytics on your resume.

What other skills do you think are important for landing a job this year? Share with us in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Four Facts You Should Know About a Company Before You Interview

facts_about_company_webScoring a job interview with a company you’re excited to work for is always a positive thing. But, you still may experience the famous mix of anticipation and dread that goes along with an interview.

Rest assured that nervousness and wariness are normal feelings when faced with an interview, but gaining a little pre-interview knowledge about the company will go far in helping to reduce the nervousness. Here are four facts you should know before walking through the door:

  • What does the company do, how does it do it, and what is its mission statement?
    Because most businesses have a website, look up the company and read about its services, products, business model, press releases, and any other information available. Learn what is most important to the company so you’ll have a good starting point to speak from during the interview.

On the company website, look specifically at the “mission statement” or “about us” page. If the mission statement emphasizes customer service, you’ll know that’s important to the company. These pages also typically give the history and philosophy of the business you’re interviewing with.

  • How is the company doing financially? Most companies have a website, and most websites have something like an “investor relations” tab. Some companies list their quarterly earnings publically and publish an annual report. Even small start ups have information available on websites like Crunchbase.com.

Why is this important? You’ll be able to speak intelligently about the future of the company, based on the facts you’ve read. In addition, you can decide if a company is financially healthy to be able to hire you long-term, offer a competitive salary or benefits, and be around for the next several years.

  • What is the company culture? This might take a little more effort. An easy way to see what the company dress code and culture looks like is to drive by early in the morning or at the end of the work day. Doing so may allow you to see how the employees entering or leaving the building dress. Or, if you know any employees, simply ask them about the code.

Again, websites are great ways to explore the feel of a company. Check to see if the company is active on social media, which may help you discover if they value healthy lifestyles, are involved in the community, or other information that can come in handy when answering tough interview questions.

  • What is the company’s reputation? Local and national news media often report on large corporations, so research news articles about the business. Some businesses may have a marketing page on their website with access to press releases and awards. You can also visit the company’s social media pages and mentions to see what they are saying to followers and what others are saying about them.

The more you know about a company, the better you will feel about answering questions. You will also appear more knowledgeable to potential employers. Knowing these facts about a company is a great way to come up with potential questions for your interviewer and show that you are interested in the job.

Are there other things you should know about a company before you go on the interview? Share your thoughts and tips with us!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

How to Prepare for a Job Interview: 5 Dos and Don’ts

how_to_prepare_interview_webAlthough no best way of interviewing exists, we do have a list of “do’s and don’ts” in preparing for that important conversation with hiring managers that may help improve your chances for interview success. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in a job interview is not being prepared. Preparation for a job interview makes the difference between getting that job offer or getting a rejection letter.

DO:

  1. Do research the company at which you are interviewing. By researching the company, you show that you’ve done your homework and that you are interested and engaged. An added advantage to researching the company is the ability to speak about the company culture, mission, growth strategy, and more in a clear and intelligent manner.
  2. Do prepare informed questions to ask if prompted. Once you’ve researched the company, make a list of questions on topics you’d like to know more about. Asking about your position’s growth potential and the future of the company can indicate to hiring managers that you are interested in a long-term relationship.
  3. Do bring an up-to-date copy of your resume. Also, proofread your resume for errors and highlight items on your resume that reflect the job you are interviewing for.
  4. Do maintain good posture, a neat appearance, regular eye contact, and a positive attitude. Most college career services offer mock interviews and interview workshops, but you can also practice interviewing with family or friends.
  5. Do send a thank you or follow-up note to the interviewer(s). A hand-written note will have much more impact than an email or text. A professional thank you note sets you apart from other candidates and has the added bonus of reminding hiring managers about your skills and experience.

DON’T:

  1. Don’t use your cell phone. Never take out your cell phone to talk or text during a job interview. Leave your phone in your pocket or purse and put it on silent. If you forget to turn your phone off, do so quickly and apologize to the interviewer if the phone rings or dings.
  2. Don’t interrupt or talk over the interviewer. While you are anxious to impress, interrupting the interviewer is not only rude, but shows that you are a bad listener. Be patient and let the interviewer finish what he or she is saying.
  3. Don’t misrepresent your experience, priorities, or background. In other words, don’t lie. Be as honest as possible about your capabilities and job experience and don’t exaggerate. Lies have a way of coming back to haunt you.
  4. Don’t speak negatively of current or former employers – or anyone for that matter. Nothing leaves a bitter taste in an interviewer’s mouth like someone who talks badly of other employers. Not only is it unprofessional, negative talk makes them wonder what you will say about them in the future.
  5. Don’t be late. Give yourself enough time to navigate possible traffic delays or mishaps. Arrive roughly 15 minutes early. Being late is a big negative during a job interview and only makes a stressful situation even more so.

“Much of this advice should be common sense, but experience tells us it’s not,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express Employment Professionals, and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. “Interviewees should always set a high bar for themselves. Spend plenty of time researching the company, gathering your thoughts, and preparing for an informed discussion. Preparation is key to wowing your interviewer.”

Your job interview goal is to show the employer that you are the best candidate for the job and that you can fit into the company’s culture. Remember, most employers do not just look at skills, but at personality, communication skills, confidence, and enthusiasm. By following the simple do’s and don’ts, you are on the right track to receiving an offer.

Do you have your own list of do’s and don’ts? Share those with us here!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Avoid Cultural Gaffes When Dealing in International Business

avoiding_cultural_gaffes_webWith technology at our fingertips, studying international business, taking internships abroad, and learning about today’s global marketplace is easier than ever. Ensuring you know how to recognize and respect business dealings of other countries is an important part of the process, so check out this post from guest blogger Heide Brandes.

Knowing business etiquette for foreign meetings can help make you a job search star.

When the Executive Director of Foreign Affairs for Taiwan presented his business card to me, I took it with both hands, studying the feel of the paper, the type of font, and the spelling of his name.

When I passed my card to him, he did the same. In Taiwan, and many Asian countries, the presentation of one’s business card is a serious event. It deserves respect and the time it takes to really look at the card and study it. Why?

It’s just considered good business. In America, we tend to slide our cards in a casual way across a board room table to everyone present, but that habit would be considered rude and even insulting in other countries.

Luckily, I looked up the business etiquette standards for Taiwan before my trip, so when the opportunity arose, I was able to honor my business associate by behaving appropriately.

In international business, first impressions are vital. To put a foreign partner at ease, you must avoid cultural gaffes, build trust, and know the customs concerning business wear, body language, handshakes, and more.

Clients thousands of miles away are easily reached in today’s society through video messaging, the internet, and email. So, knowing how to conduct yourself in other cultures is vital to having business success. Not only do you have the chance to impress foreign clients and your boss, you can also make yourself stand out on a global scale.

Do Your Homework
In some Asian countries, holding eye contact for too long is considered impolite or aggressive. On the other hand, Canadian businessmen emphasize eye contact as a way of showing respect and interest in what the other person is saying.

The best way to know what’s acceptable and what’s not is by doing your homework.

The acceptable business etiquette for any country can be found on the internet and in travel books, so it’s easy to educate yourself on the common practices. For example, if you are traveling to India, it’s good to know that ordering beef at a business lunch is considered rude since cows are sacred animals in that country.

Never be late to a meeting with Canadian business executives, as they value punctuality. And when dealing with the Japanese, let them initiate a handshake first because sometimes handshakes are not acceptable.

Set Your Ego Aside
In the U.S., Americans take pride in our strengths and our individuality. Holding heads high and portraying confident body language shows one is a capable and successful business person.

But in Japan, for instance, it is common practice to divert your eyes when dealing with a business partner in a higher position than you are. In business dealings, showing respect can mean the difference between a contract or a failure.

Admit Ignorance or “The Power of Apology”
If you do commit a cultural gaffe while dealing with foreign clients, apologize quickly and make it clear that you were unaware of your mistake.

Like you, foreign clients are on unfamiliar ground when doing business outside their home country. Apologize quickly and sincerely if you make a mistake and ask your client what the proper etiquette is, giving him or her the chance to explain.

The Importance of Food
In many societies, food is a ritual. With business dealings, the same theory applies. If you are invited to a lunch or formal dinner with foreign colleagues, brush up on the local dinner table manners. For instance, never put your chopsticks upright in rice, as it is reminiscent of incense sticks burned at a funeral in many Asian countries.

While eating with your hands is acceptable in India, it’s strictly taboo in other cultures. In France, politeness dictates that you rest your hands on the table instead of your lap.

Never Assume
Every society has its rules and quirks. It’s important to know or at least attempt to know the different customs of the clients you deal with in order to maintain a level of professionalism in your career.

How about you? Share your stories – both good and embarrassing – about dealing with foreign clients in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Top Interview Traits Your Future Boss Wants to See

topinterviewtraits_webIf you think outstanding references and years of education are the top traits employers are looking for during interviews, think again.

According to a new study by Express Employment Professionals, it turns out the most important thing you need to get where you want to be is a positive attitude. The recent survey found that attitude and integrity are the two top qualities your future bosses want to see. In fact, your attitude toward a future job and employer may be the most important trait to develop if you’re looking for a job.

Developing a Positive Attitude
So, what are some ways to give your attitude a positive boost before, during, and after a job interview? Here are some tips to help you keep your attitude in check:

  • Make eye contact. Engage yourself with the interviewer by smiling, relaxing, and showing emotion.
  • Be positive. Focus on what you can do and don’t cut yourself down. If the interview asks about your greatest weakness, try to show how it has strengthened you.
  • Never complain. Even if your former boss was the worst boss in history, don’t complain. Employers see a bright red flag if your interview is full of criticism, complaints, or excuses.

Showing Integrity and Work Ethic
Let’s assume you have a strong work ethic – how can you show your new, future boss that? These tips can help:

  • Be respectful. Show respect to past co-workers and describe positive relationships in your previous job.
  • Make a good impression. Show you have a strong work ethic by arriving to your interview on time and prepared.
  • Be honest. If you are lacking in certain areas, be honest about it, but stress that you are willing to learn and will go above and beyond to provide the skills the employer needs.

Other Important Interview Traits
These findings came from the 2014 edition of the “America Employed” survey of 115 Express franchises across the nation. The survey asked respondents to rate various traits on a scale of one to five based on how important they are when evaluating applicants.

While skills and job experience were certainly important, the traits respondents rated as most important were attitude (4.53 out of 5), work ethic and integrity (4.52 out of 5), and credible work history (4.07 out of 5). Other traits included:

  • Culture fit (4.02)
  • Skills (3.85)
  • Job experience (3.73)
  • References (3.45)
  • Education (2.67)

In your experience, did a positive attitude during a job interview result in a job offer? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.