Maintaining morale

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In times of structural and managerial change, always be aware of your workforce’s wellbeing. Sometimes it’s not apparent what the impact periods of major change can have on your staff, but the emotional toll is often the unseen price of adjustment. It’s vital that you know and recognise the signs of slipping, disrupted or low morale.  

Get the balance right

Morale is a vital part of any company. Maintaining good morale is healthy for any workforce and the make-up of your staff will be a deciding factor in how well morale is retained. Good morale tends to improve and maintain productivity, enhance creativity and encourage collaboration. Laughter and a good atmosphere in the workplace has a range of benefits, including such positive factors as improved general wellbeing and good communication. Don’t chat, laugh and joke all day, but sometimes informality and humour can take toil out of the workplace environment. Give your people a morale boost: reward success, instil pride and acknowledge when things are going well. It’s not always easy – especially during transitional periods – to do this.

Play for the team

Not everyone will want to look on the bright side. But try not to make things worse than they are either. Divisions in a team, or divisive action within an office or other work environment, can only lead to impacts on morale in the long term. A healthy sense of competition often leads to favourable outcomes, but unhealthy troublemakers only sow discord. If your staff don’t seem to enjoy being at work, and if their work is suffering as a result, then the signs probably indicate that there’s something wrong with their morale. 

Adapt to change

Individual members of staff don’t have to be the ones who are actually experiencing the change. Comings and goings in the workplace instigate their own set of challenges, as even minor changes bring about behavioural and productive fluctuations. If your team is directly or indirectly affected by change, it can be influenced in many different ways. Low self-esteem and stress are two of the ways wavering morale can impact your employees, and both are not easy emotional conditions to address in a straightforward way.

Strength and purpose

During periods of transition, it’s important not to lose sight of where your employees’ strengths lie. As you take your workforce in new directions, make sure that good morale is at the core of your endeavours. Look from an optimistic perspective at the changes, for them and for you, and use these as positives to shape their career evolution. Be mindful that although morale is difficult to sustain at a high level in times of uncertainty, it is also something that is ignored only at your peril.

Selling to a sophisticated market

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Coaching is an effective tool in career advancement but is an unregulated industry and it’s important that you choose your coach carefully. With more and more HR professionals having coaching qualifications and being familiar with the coaching process themselves, its still important to remember some of the key things to look for when outsourcing additional coaching expertise.

Picking the right coach for your company and the outcomes you are striving for are an important stage in the process. Career coaches offer a variety of options when it comes to coaching styles, with different skillsets and areas of expertise to suit different clients.

Experience is key

With increasing numbers of coaches promoting their services, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of knowledge and expertise. There are business-focused executive coaches available, with 1000s of hours of experience. Some of them will have impressive track records in corporate line management. Many will hold widely-recognised coaching qualifications and accreditations.

Among other attributes to look out for are coaches who demonstrate their experience of using assessment tools and psychometrics. They should also have worked in a wide range of functions and sectors. Do your research to find the career coach that best matches your company’s ethos and ambitions.

It’s a matter of principals

Ideally you want to be working with a career coach who has business experience, focus and involvement. Coaching programmes need to ensure clients’ coaching goals are aligned with organisational objectives, and that these objectives are agreed with their direct manager and/or HR.

Coaching is a learning process that takes place over time and through reflection and action. It’s not something that happens instantly and shouldn’t be treated as such. You need to recognise that coaching is appropriate at any organisational level or position – no one is beyond the benefits of coaching, but choosing the right fit is imperative. In today’s complex and ambiguous business environment, career coaching offers a space to think and develop solutions outside the bubble of day-to-day life. It also offers the chance to see the bigger picture and define the principals that are important to those undergoing the coaching process.  

Knowledge of the business

There is a wide range of coaching approaches, methods and tools, such as Executive Coaching, or Individual and Team Coaching. Confidentiality and coaching ethics are also of paramount importance, as are data security and privacy. Make sure that the coach you choose to work with can demonstrate the ones important to you. With so many unregulated or underqualified coaches out there, choose carefully. It’s worth checking, for example, if they adhere to the stringent Global Code of Ethics, via the European Mentoring and Coaching Council, or the International Coach Federation. The more you can find out about your career coach when selecting one, the better the outcomes will be in the long-term.

Top tips for getting your job application noticed

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With the ongoing government policy of austerity in the UK and uncertain and challenging economic conditions in many sectors, job hunting has become increasingly difficult across the board. Employers typically face a bombardment of applications and unfortunately the great majority of them never get read. Here we have listed a few tips which can help prospective job seekers with that necessary edge.

Take a targeted approach

As nobody is qualified to do every job under the sun, it’s important that you focus on applying for positions which you are best suited to. A targeted approach to job hunting involves picking a small handful of positions to work with every week and taking the time to tailor both your CV and cover letter to each one. Use research where appropriate and personalise the letter.

Write in Plain English

Employers generally want a candidate selection process to be as hassle-free as possible and your choice of language can help with this. Writing an application in the simplest form can be a welcome breath of fresh air from reading clichéd phrases such as, say, being ‘innovative’ or having a ‘flair for creativity’.  Giving concrete examples of achievements instead of potentially meaningless statements such as these is good practice.

Tell a clear and characterful story

It’s easy to forget all the minutiae that comes with every job application, but employers will remember a story. You should present your work experience as a natural, progressive journey to the position which you are applying for. A little bit of creativity can also be used to emphasise passion for your work.

Be brief

Time taken to read job applications is incredibly short and an employer is likely to spend no longer than a few seconds skimming over it. This means that the writing style you use must be clear and concise. Every detail within your CV and cover letter should accurately focus on what your potential employer is looking for. Work experience should be bullet-pointed using succinct sentences.

Network

Whilst all of the above tips can be very helpful, networking is often still the most effective way of gaining employment. Nothing beats a trusted recommendation from a close friend or former colleague of the employer.  It is always worth asking around to see what is available, as well as who might be worth approaching speculatively.

THE DAWN OF A NEW DECADE

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Whenever we pass significant milestones, be they personal or historical, we often reflect on what we have achieved. Significant personal ones are the passing years of wedding anniversaries or birthdays, while we often look at how long we have worked somewhere, in a certain role, as being a good way of seeing how our career path has advanced. The beginning of a new decade is one of those important milestones that cause such reflection and assessment, and offers time for us to re-evaluate, in terms of own career and that of our organisation.   

The career landscape

The last decade of business has seen a lot of transition, with technology in particular having a significant impact on working methods. The shape of employment is changing, with to some extent a greater degree of flexibility on offer. There is no longer a need to work for a single company, or sometimes even in an office environment at all, and this allows both employers and employees different approaches to their working lives. This can be factored into your thoughts and decisions, when thinking about where your company stands at the start of a new decade. For many, the traditional career trajectory is one that suits their wellbeing much better. The traditional model – of long-term employment and steady career progression – offers stability and security, but does it always offer fulfilment?

New challenges

Say you have been working at the same place for the last 10 years, running a successful company or guiding staff as a HR manager. Has it brought you and the company the rewards it should, or the hard work put in by everyone has deserved? The next significant question is, if change is in the offing, what next? If your company is in a period of transition, you may be looking at your or your team’s future.  This is a good time to think about what you want and what your company needs. Executive coaching can enable leaders to develop greater self-awareness, whilst building capability and effectiveness. Team coaching works with the whole team to help improve their collective performance and how they interact and work together.

Career Evolution

It many instances, it makes a great deal of sense of connect with a career coach, who may be able to help you or your business in new, exciting and profitable directions. Positive change can make a real difference to our working lives. Merely discussing how employees feel and what they want to achieve can bring focus and clarity to a situation. A coach will provide options and advice on where you and your team’s strengths and weaknesses lie, and how you can use them to you best advantage.  If you think a coach or mentor can help you find the next steps on a career path, then contact Career Evolution today. Together we can make the next decade your business’s best.