Tag Archives: workforce

87665813

Study: Most Agree ‘Glass Ceiling’ Exists

According to a survey conducted by financial services firm Edward Jones, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Americans believe women in the workforce today face a barrier to career advancement with one in five (22 percent) citing the financial industry as the hardest glass ceiling for women to break through.  The firm has been working to increase the percentage of female financial advisors in its branch offices and erase that perception.

“The lack of women in leadership positions, particularly on Wall Street, has been well documented in the news media, but at Edward Jones, a female financial advisor enjoys the same opportunity as her male counterparts,” said Elizabeth Schehl, Director of Financial Advisor Diversity and Female Performance at Edward Jones. “There is no glass ceiling and the benefits of running your own branch office makes the Edward Jones model particularly attractive to women.”

The survey of 1,010 Americans underscored that women represent an attractive applicant pool with 67 percent of respondents – men and women alike – citing that women are the more ambitious of the two sexes when it comes to acquiring leadership positions in the workplace.  When asked the top factor impeding these ambitious women from advancing, a male-dominated environment was cited by 83 percent of respondents. Other factors contributing to the glass ceiling include:

* The juggle of family and corporate responsibilities (73 percent)
* Inadequate policies for women in the workplace, such as stringent maternity leave policies (62 percent)
* Lack of adequate mentoring or a defined career path in reaching the executive board level (56 percent)

When asked which part of a career is most important to them beyond compensation, nearly half (49 percent) of women cited an entrepreneurial work environment. “One of the main things that attracted me to Edward Jones when I first began as a financial advisor was the entrepreneurial environment where I was given the freedom to thrive as if I was my own boss.  I quickly learned that the only barriers I had were those that I put in place for myself,” Schehl added.

Edward Jones’ unique branch office system provides financial advisors with the autonomy to run their own business with the infrastructure and support of a resource-rich organization.  Currently, Edward Jones has more than 12,500 entrepreneurs operating branches across the country.

Among its programs promoting diversity, Edward Jones’ Women’s Initiative for New Growth Strategies (WINGS), is a network of female advisors that volunteers their time to recruit, mentor and support other female advisors. Since WINGS was introduced five years ago, the firm has seen a steady uptick in women joining the company, who now make up one-quarter of all financial advisor recruits.

Along with financial services (67 percent), additional industries that are perceived as being more challenging for women to succeed in include professional services (69 percent) and technology (64 percent).  Media and publishing was less restrictive to women at 41 percent, and healthcare (23 percent) and education (14 percent) were perceived as the least challenging.  Survey results also showed that older respondents were more likely to agree that a glass ceiling exists than younger respondents indicating a positive change in perception among younger generations. Of respondents between the ages of 55-64, 71 percent cited that a glass ceiling exists as well as 70 percent of respondents over 65, compared to 60 percent of those surveyed between the ages of 18 and 34.

87665813

Study: Most Agree 'Glass Ceiling' Exists

According to a survey conducted by financial services firm Edward Jones, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Americans believe women in the workforce today face a barrier to career advancement with one in five (22 percent) citing the financial industry as the hardest glass ceiling for women to break through.  The firm has been working to increase the percentage of female financial advisors in its branch offices and erase that perception.

“The lack of women in leadership positions, particularly on Wall Street, has been well documented in the news media, but at Edward Jones, a female financial advisor enjoys the same opportunity as her male counterparts,” said Elizabeth Schehl, Director of Financial Advisor Diversity and Female Performance at Edward Jones. “There is no glass ceiling and the benefits of running your own branch office makes the Edward Jones model particularly attractive to women.”

The survey of 1,010 Americans underscored that women represent an attractive applicant pool with 67 percent of respondents – men and women alike – citing that women are the more ambitious of the two sexes when it comes to acquiring leadership positions in the workplace.  When asked the top factor impeding these ambitious women from advancing, a male-dominated environment was cited by 83 percent of respondents. Other factors contributing to the glass ceiling include:

* The juggle of family and corporate responsibilities (73 percent)
* Inadequate policies for women in the workplace, such as stringent maternity leave policies (62 percent)
* Lack of adequate mentoring or a defined career path in reaching the executive board level (56 percent)

When asked which part of a career is most important to them beyond compensation, nearly half (49 percent) of women cited an entrepreneurial work environment. “One of the main things that attracted me to Edward Jones when I first began as a financial advisor was the entrepreneurial environment where I was given the freedom to thrive as if I was my own boss.  I quickly learned that the only barriers I had were those that I put in place for myself,” Schehl added.

Edward Jones’ unique branch office system provides financial advisors with the autonomy to run their own business with the infrastructure and support of a resource-rich organization.  Currently, Edward Jones has more than 12,500 entrepreneurs operating branches across the country.

Among its programs promoting diversity, Edward Jones’ Women’s Initiative for New Growth Strategies (WINGS), is a network of female advisors that volunteers their time to recruit, mentor and support other female advisors. Since WINGS was introduced five years ago, the firm has seen a steady uptick in women joining the company, who now make up one-quarter of all financial advisor recruits.

Along with financial services (67 percent), additional industries that are perceived as being more challenging for women to succeed in include professional services (69 percent) and technology (64 percent).  Media and publishing was less restrictive to women at 41 percent, and healthcare (23 percent) and education (14 percent) were perceived as the least challenging.  Survey results also showed that older respondents were more likely to agree that a glass ceiling exists than younger respondents indicating a positive change in perception among younger generations. Of respondents between the ages of 55-64, 71 percent cited that a glass ceiling exists as well as 70 percent of respondents over 65, compared to 60 percent of those surveyed between the ages of 18 and 34.

employment

Purposed-Based Recruiting Increases Employee Retention

Ask any entrepreneur to explain his or her biggest struggle, and you’ll hear one answer more often than any other – finding and retaining the best talent.  Let’s face it, at the end the day, the only real competitive advantage amongst all businesses is the people.

Of course, finding and keeping star employees has always been a struggle. However, the problem is more prevalent than ever as younger generations enter the workforce. Gone are the days of joining a company as an entry-level employee and staying at that same company for their entire career. Instead, today’s workforce is choosing to climb the career ladder by switching companies more frequently.

This shift in workforce behavior is actually a positive thing for employees looking for a wide range of experiences and avenues to hone their knowledge and talents. However, it also creates an undesirable predicament for business owners. High turnover can wreak havoc on a company and create oodles of problems that quickly spiral out of control: weak company culture, negative impact on productivity, and loss of the company’s investment in employees.

This trend isn’t going to disappear any time soon. So, entrepreneurs are basically left with two options: 1. Fight the trend. 2. Leverage the trend.

Numerous studies are showing that both the younger generation of workers, as well as many of the workers who were forced into career change during the recent economic fallout, are seeking companies and opportunities which offer a well-defined purpose. Many professionals are no longer satisfied with simply earning a paycheck. They no longer view work as somewhere they must be for a good portion of their day, but instead a place that allows them opportunities to make a difference in the world—a difference that has meaning to them.

How can entrepreneurs leverage this trend?

I call the solution “purpose-based recruiting.” When communicated correctly during the interview process and any recruitment efforts, purpose-based recruiting not only reveals that your company cares about an individual’s success, shows opportunities for growth, and empowers people to hone their passion. It also filters out potential hires who might be simply looking for just a quick paycheck.

As the owner of a business that is focused on purpose-based recruiting, I see how businesses are missing the big-picture element when hiring new employees. The great thing is most businesses already have a strong vision of how they hope to make an impact in the world; they simply need to fine-tune and communicate that message more effectively to new recruits.

Follow the below steps for successful purpose-based recruiting:

1. Start with the founder. For nearly all businesses, the founder’s original vision serves as the fabric of what the company is today.  If the founder is no longer in the picture, go to the owner/CEO or executive team. Establish what the business stands for and what the future looks like. Write down key messages, and use these as talking points when hiring.  In essence, find a unique purpose that the team can align with professionally.

2. Recruit based on goals. When companies post for job openings, it’s usually a laundry list of skills a person must possess in order to apply for the position. Why not take a different approach and hire based on what that person hopes to accomplish professionally? As small business owners, we are so focused on finding the right person based on skillset and forget some of the most important elements – finding someone who is a perfect culture fit, has the potential to grow, embodies the company brand and shares the business’ mission. While finding individuals like this may seem impossible for many entrepreneurs, it’s much more manageable if the company has clearly defined purpose.

3. Ask the right questions. A company’s and individual’s goals must be synchronistic. The next step is to uncover as much information about the individual during the interview beyond the skillset. What are their career goals? What are they looking for in a company? What motivates and excites them? Discovering their professional passion and purpose can help you determine if they will be a good ambassador of your brand.

4. Communicate the company’s vision. Knowing that today’s employee cares significantly about making a difference, it is important to outline the company’s purpose and goals early in the interview. It must be made clear that finding individuals who align with a company’s purpose and believe in their goals is essential as well. Job candidates will hopefully make a decision early on if they will be satisfied working at your company.

5. Foster growth after hiring. Communicating a company’s grand vision should not be limited to the interview process. All employees should feel like they have a stake in the company’s success and are working toward a common goal. As a part of the post-hiring process, managers should stay in close contact with new employees to be sure they are working toward their professional goals and in turn, keeping with the overall company goals. Existing employees can use refreshers too. Communicate big wins for the company, be transparent about new opportunities and challenges and provide check points – quarterly or annually – to show how the company is achieving goals.

Like I mentioned before. Companies have the option to either fight the new trend, or leverage it. I strongly encourage hiring managers and entrepreneurs to evaluate the recruiting process and make sure it aligns with this behavior shift we’re seeing in the workforce. Purpose-based recruiting will help your business enormously. Not only will you see higher retention, but employees will be more productive and happy because they are working toward their professional purpose.

Max Hansen is the CEO and co-owner of Y Scouts, a recruiting firm that focuses on helping individuals discover their professional passion and connect them with a like-minded company. Hansen is also the membership chair for Entrepreneurs’ Organization Arizona, a dynamic group of 150 of Arizona’s most successful entrepreneurs. To learn more about EO Arizona and its mentorship program, visit www.eoaz.org.

Educational Partnership - Maricopa Community Colleges & University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix Forms Educational Partnership With Maricopa Community Colleges

Alliance creates career pathways to address workforce skills gaps

University of Phoenix, the nation’s largest private university and leader in educating today’s working learner, today announced an educational partnership with Maricopa Community Colleges that will provide new educational opportunities in manufacturing, healthcare, business, and hospitality. The new partnership was announced at a special signing ceremony at Rio Salado College.

“This new partnership will provide a transition from associate’s to bachelor’s degree in areas like manufacturing, hospitality and business, where we know we need skilled workers and need them now.”

Through the new partnership, University of Phoenix and Maricopa Community Colleges will work with area business, academic and diversity leaders to identify workforce needs and develop focused curriculum and specific career pathways to meet those area workforce skills gaps. Students will have the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree at any Maricopa Community College and then seamlessly transition to a bachelor’ degree program at University of Phoenix.

“We agree with President Obama—community colleges are critical in developing our next generation of skilled workers—and that’s why we continue to invest in these types of partnerships,” said Dr. Bill Pepicello, President, University of Phoenix. “When two education providers like University of Phoenix and Maricopa Community Colleges come together to present education solutions, the benefit to students, employers and the local economy is that much greater.”

As part of the partnership, Maricopa Community College students will have the opportunity to potentially convert prior training and work experience into college credit through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) at University of Phoenix. Through a new University of Phoenix transfer policy, credits earned through an associate’s of arts degree at Maricopa Community Colleges will transfer to University of Phoenix and satisfy general education course requirements so students can immediately begin working towards their bachelor’s degree in their field of study. University of Phoenix and Maricopa Community Colleges will also explore transfer trends to ensure the partnership is meeting local employer demands.

“The Maricopa Community Colleges are committed to helping our students reach their educational goals, and part of that commitment is ensuring that they have as many ways as possible to achieve success,” said Dr. Rufus Glasper, Chancellor of the Maricopa Community Colleges. “This new partnership will provide a transition from associate’s to bachelor’s degree in areas like manufacturing, hospitality and business, where we know we need skilled workers and need them now.”

[stextbox id=”alert” bwidth=”1″ bcolor=”000000″ bgcolor=”e0e0e0″ image=”null”]For more information on this educational partnership go to Maricopa Community Colleges  or University of Phoenix.[/stextbox]

Arizona's high technology industry - AZ Business Magazine Jan/Feb 2011

Far-reaching Initiatives Are Driving The AZ Tech Council

When it comes to new initiatives to promote and develop Arizona’s high technology industry, there is no telling how far the Arizona Technology Council will go.

Would you believe … China? A 10-day, fact-finding journey — led by Arizona Technology Council President and CEO Steven Zylstra — to one of the oldest nations on the planet ranks as the most spectacular effort to assist Arizona’s technology companies and individuals. But there’s much more.

For example, Consultants on Demand, a program run by Dick Stover, CEO of Go1099.com, connects businesses with consultants and professionals for various contract services. It’s free to all Tech Council members.

With the addition of Consultants on Demand to the council’s website, members can post projects and special assignments without charge. Consultants and professionals can access and bid on these projects, also without charge.

Then there is the Mentoring Program, launched in 2010 to provide Tech Council members with a venue for strengthening and building their business knowledge and network. A pool of talented and experienced business professionals is available to fill the role of mentors. Under the program, a mentor spends a year working with a Tech Council member on mutually agreed upon goals for business and personal growth. In addition, the Tech Council has speakers address the group throughout the year on various business topics.

“As the group progresses through the program,” Zylstra says, “new relationships will be formed via networking, and stronger companies will be built by learning new business practices for strategic planning and efficient operational management.”

Because the technology industry is still somewhat male dominated, Women in the Workforce is a program that provides an opportunity for women in technology to share ideas and experiences. Teresa Snyder, marketing director for OneNeck IT Services, says the program is an attempt to fill a need for women in technology.

Arizona Business Magazine Jan/Feb 2011

Employee Discontent Experiences Sharp Rise

Employee Discontent Experiences Sharp Rise, Study Finds

Workers are poised for a mass exodus next year, according to a poll of more than 1,400 workers in North America by Right Management. Employees are feeling increasingly restless and intend to leave in droves if opportunities open up in the job market.

Eighty-four percent of the employees polled say they plan to look for new jobs in 2011, up from 60 percent reported in Right Management’s survey a year ago. Only 5 percent now say they intend to remain in their current position.

“This finding is more about employee dissatisfaction and discontent than projected turnover,” says Douglas J. Matthews, President and Chief Operating Officer for Right Management. “We view it as a barometer of their trust in management or commitment to the job. It’s a workplace equivalent to opinion polling on whether or not ‘this country is moving in the right direction.’ Just as people are questioning their elected leaders in government, so too are workers wondering if their management is up to the challenge of renewed growth or developing a sound strategy moving forward.”

Matthews observed that the prolonged recession, continued job market weakness, along with disruptive economic and workforce changes are the underlying factors contributing most to employees’ backlash. “Employees’ trust has been seriously shaken and there is a general lack of confidence in leaders.”

The discontent is widespread, but this doesn’t mean an organization’s management is helpless, but nor can they afford to ignore the problem. “Clearly, if the job market picks up a lot next year many employees are going to take advantage of it, and organizations stand to lose some of their top contributors. So this is a wake-up call to management.”

One step management should take, Matthews advises, is to identify star performers and have open and constructive career discussions with them. “High value employees always have opportunities available to them. Know who they are and be sure to take care of them in ways that are meaningful and aligned with the businesses goals.”

Matthews noted that restlessness can also be alleviated by managers being honest and positive with employees. “Provide them with feedback on what they are doing really well and ways to help them improve. A mentoring relationship between the manager and employee will build mutual trust and hopefully limit future defections.”

Right Management surveyed 1,413 employees in the United States via an online poll. The survey ran between Oct. 11 and Nov. 15, 2010.

Arizona Business Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Janet Perez

The Buzz on AZNow.Biz – September 20, 2010

It’s another exciting week at AZNow.Biz. Arizona’s credit unions are asking Congress to allow them to make more loans to more small businesses. This week also marks the debut of our workforce columnist, Marcia Rhodes, from the recruitment firm WorldatWork. Rhodes asks the question, are you a good boss?  Find all this and more at AZNow.Biz.

hr_director_lg_biz

2009 Large Business HR Director Of The Year Honoree

Anna HaugenName: Anna Haugen
Title: Manager of Human Capital
Company: Direct Alliance Corporation

Years with city: 6
Years in current position: 4
Year incorporated: 1993
Employees in AZ: 650
Employees in HR dept.: 9
www.directalliance.com

At Tempe-based Direct Alliance Corporation, talent acquisition and retention are more than just important — they are a top priority.

Manager of Human Capital Anna Haugen and her staff are responsible for attracting new employees to Direct Alliance, and helping to craft a corporate culture in which staff members want to work. Under her leadership, Haugen’s team has filled more than 400 sales positions while holding attrition levels to half the industry norm. Direct Alliance is a provider of outsourced sales and marketing solutions for Fortune 500 companies.

Haugen relies on a variety of tools to recruit new employees — advertising, employee referrals, early-career college talent pools, internal and external networking, the Internet, and onsite and off-site job fairs. She also employs job-candidate assessment tools that evaluate skills critical to various roles within the company, as well as workplace behavior and motivation. Nearly three-quarters of job applicants pass the screening process, but only 18 percent are hired. Average employee tenure is three years, a direct result of hard work by Haugen and her team.

Leadership development is important to employee retention and it’s Haugen’s philosophy that this function should not stand alone. She integrates it into such talent-management practices as recruitment, selection, promotion and compensation. Working in concert with other departments, Haugen provides a variety of training and leadership-development programs that utilize real-time practices and real-life situations.

Numerous learning techniques are used to accommodate employees at all levels of the company and their learning styles, including classrooms, action-learning projects, rotational assignments and Web-based modules. Compensation is expanded beyond salary to include sales commissions, bonuses, retention bonuses, monetary and non-monetary sales contests, and incentive programs.
retention.

Employee relations also are important to Haugen. She believes strong employee relations can give staff members a feeling of ownership in the company. To Haugen, employee relations involve effective communication between managers and employees under fair and flexible rules that aim to get the job done efficiently and profitably. To that end, she helps develop programs that foster a productive and innovative culture, including a company Intranet to communicate information, e-mail, bulletin boards and posters, an open-door policy, resolution processes, and recognition programs.

Haugen supports diversity at Direct Alliance through strategies that include community relationships, diversity job fairs, an apprentice program with the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, and advertising with ethnic associations and clubs, colleges and universities, AARP, the Arizona Department of Economic Security and Arizona Workforce Connection.

At Direct Alliance, a balanced life is expected and supported. Haugen and employees from other departments work together to make the work-life balance easier through telecommuting, flexible work schedules, a wellness program, an employee assistance program and a concierge service that offers discounts at local businesses such as restaurants, dry cleaners and gymnasiums. There also is an employee activity committee that coordinates such employee events as holiday parties, company contests and a holiday shopping boutique. Haugen believes that a healthy work-life balance requires a daily effort to make time for family, friends, the community, personal growth and self-care. She tries to lead by example.

Keep Workers Working

Ways To Keep Workers Working In A Troubled Economy

Our current job market is struggling through one of the worst periods of unemployment in memory. The unemployment rate continues to creep toward the unspeakable double digits, a number not reached in Arizona for more than 25 years. Whatever name is attached — downsizing, rightsizing, re-sizing, layoff, offboarding, reduction-in-force, restructuring — the result is the same: lost jobs in the name of economic turmoil that has no conscience.

Whether you are amazed at the statistics or whether you are one, there is no doubt you have watched the economy take a frightening toll on your workplace. Those who are fortunate enough to still earn a paycheck have had to watch their co-workers walked out in myriad reduction-in-force actions that have dominated news media from California to Florida. Few companies have been spared in their attempts to balance their books by slashing one of the most expensive items on their check register — payroll costs. It’s an ugly story that plays out in all corners, and there is little confidence that the worst of the cutbacks is behind us.

Local public job assistance resources have been overwhelmed. According to Patrick Burkhart, assistant director at Maricopa Workforce Connections, the no-charge centers have approached capacity in their attempts to provide local job seekers with a head start on hunting for new positions. The MWC has experienced a 100 percent increase in year-over-year traffic in its centers, which currently assist up to 500 job seekers per day in each of the two “one stop” centers. While laid-off workers range from the highly skilled to laborers, preparing them for their next opportunity is often an exercise in futility. With so few available positions, and no job growth predicted for 2009, it becomes a cruel parody of “all dressed up and no place to go.”

Corporate executives cannot be blamed for adding to this unemployment quagmire. Their directive is to ensure financial survival through any legitimate means available. For most, that means a consideration of reducing work force costs, which may include not only wages, but also significant associated costs of health and welfare benefits, matching 401(k) contributions, profit sharing, tuition reimbursement, training or other company-provided benefits or perks. There is also an indirect impact on the company; a deterioration of employee loyalty, decreased customer confidence, and perhaps most importantly, a sense of apprehension among employees in fearing a loss of their own jobs. The result may have an effect on employee productivity and in retaining and attracting the best and brightest talent for the future.

It is no wonder then that reducing headcount is considered a last resort among decision makers. But what should companies do to prevent having to announce the dreaded “L” word, as 60 percent of surveyed U.S. companies plan to do in 2009, and thereby disrupt internal work operations for perhaps the long term? Executives first need to create a realistic vision of the direction of their business, attempt to recognize the timing of the “bottom” for their industry, and then set a plan in place to preserve a profit margin that will sustain the business. This analysis has become the key leadership initiative that guides decision making, and may ultimately affect the survival of the company.

It is said that desperate times call for desperate measures. If so, companies are often cornered into making tough sacrifices in the name of survival. Human resources can play an integral role in the strategic analysis of the business plan, and while cost reductions must be considered to save jobs, there may also be time for process improvement opportunities.

Among budget initiatives to be considered:
Freeze unnecessary discretionary spending — Travel for other than customer visits, employee “business” lunches, social events, overtime, temporary help, consultants, new software, advertising, and conferences or training that are not critical can be curtailed.

Wage considerations — In addition to a bonus and wage freeze, consider a salary reduction, perhaps only for those earning above a targeted salary. Depending on work requirements, consider a reduced workweek in exchange for the wage reduction, or have a temporary company shutdown. Suspend any policy that allows employees to cash-in vacation or paid time off (PTO) accruals, and instead mandate they use the time.

Company contributions to employee programs — For companies that need to make a more serious dent in expenditures, cutbacks may be made in the health care plan design, tuition reimbursement, 401(k) match, or company paid life insurance or disability plans.

Don’t expect employees to express appreciation for these types of actions, but every wage earner in today’s work force understands the reality of a balance sheet and its affect on his or her job. While employees usually bear the brunt of company cutbacks, there are actions HR can propose that might soften the impact.

Cross training and skill enhancement — A business slowdown is an excellent time to prepare employees to assume additional job skills for the future through on-the-job cross training.

Solicit employee input — Using employees to provide savings suggestions will enhance their buy-in and may even improve morale. Above all else, they want to keep their jobs and when viewed as a partnership with the company, will help foster mutual respect.

Job transfer — Either as an assignment of temporary resources or a long-term solution to unbalanced workloads, employees may be interested in moving to a new function with a different career path.

Communicate — Employees may be more understanding of the company’s plight if they are able to share the news along the way with no surprises.

Today, we still find ourselves in the middle of a sluggish economy that has turned into a marathon, but the finish line must be somewhere down the road. Leaders who can see that far will make the right strategic decisions in the best interest of their organization and its employees. Those who consistently communicate that vision, and take action to save jobs wherever possible, will find a loyal work force ready and willing to enjoy better times ahead.