Working with Other Generations

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone with whom you had absolutely nothing in common? The conversation was probably stumbling, awkward, filled with gaps. The fact is, it’s difficult to communicate with others when we don’t have any similar interests. However, when your coworkers are the people with whom you lack commonalities, more than simple conversations are impaired; it becomes increasingly difficult to achieve even the most basic of tasks.

This problem is especially prevalent with age diversity in the workplace. Oftentimes, those from different generations view the other as useless: either their knowledge is outdated or they are too lazy to achieve quality work. Such a view can lead to a seemingly unbridgeable chasm of disrespect and misunderstanding among generations.

Our most recent podcast episode of HR Insiders discussed exactly this issue with the help of Angie Mills, an HR professional at a quickly-growing company and author of the book Run For Your Life.

Angie outlined some general information about the four different age groups currently in the workforce:

“The silent generation, also known as builders, are people who were born between 1927 and 1945. Most of those people are retired now, but there is still a small percentage in the workforce. Some common traits with them are, they value hard work, they’re very company-loyal, they respect authority, they like formal recognition, and they prefer hierarchy at work.

The next generation below them would be the baby boomers, which were people born between 1946 and 1964. Many of these workers are retired now or will be retiring soon, but they do still make up a substantial percentage of the workforce. Some common traits with them are: a strong work ethic – they can be called workaholics. They value teamwork and achievement, they live to work rather than work to live, and are very company loyal, but also somewhat inflexible and resistant to change. And they think that millennials are on the side of lazy and entitled.

Generation X or Gen X-ers are people born between ’65 and ’82. They have quite a ways to go until retirement and make up a major chunk of the workforce. Some common traits: they aim for work-life balance, have a lack of company loyalty, like ongoing feedback, embrace change, and prefer informality, prefer working independently rather than in teams.

And millennials, also known as Generation Z or Gen Z, are people born between 1983 in 2001 and they make up a pretty big part of the workforce already. Some common traits with them would be that they are immersed in social media. They’re globally conscious, they prefer meaningful work. They like workplace flexibility. They’re connected basically 24/7 and they plan to change jobs every two to four years or so.”

Because each generation grew up in such a different era – largely with different values as well as technology – it’s difficult for them to relate to each other. Younger generations especially tend to think of older generations as obsolete, without offering anything new to bring to the table. As Angie puts it, “We all, when we were younger, thought that we knew everything and we didn’t need the older generation or the older adults in our lives…We felt like we didn’t really care what they had to say or what they thought about things because we knew it all.”

Regardless of a person’s current age, his experiences are valuable. As Angie so aptly explains, “You want people to respect you at your current age and place in life… but you need to also offer that same respect back to other people. You can’t just say, ‘My way of thinking or my way of doing it is the only way.’”

So many companies nowadays seem to have an ‘in with the new, out with the old’ mentality. They want the most recent college grads with the most up-to-date technological skills, and that often means not having the space for older workers. While it’s excellent to bring in young hires, there’s also more at stake. Legally, employees over the age of 40 are a protected class under the Age Discrimination and Employment Act (ADEA). As Angie explains, “Nobody’s really talking about making sure that we have age diversity in the workforce… [Discrimination against] age diversity is like a secret that exists that nobody wants to talk about.”

One of the best ways to increase inter-generational diversity is by offering a mentor program within the workplace. Angie elaborates: “It’s helpful if you can assign the more experienced workers as mentors to the newer workers. In every company, it’s going to be different depending on what you do, but almost always having a mentor from the more experienced generation coach and help along a newer member in the workforce can be really helpful.” Such a mentor program works to show both older and younger generations that the contributions of their counterparts are valuable, and regardless of their current base of knowledge, they still have a lot to learn from other generations.

To reach out to Angie with questions or ideas on the subject of inter-generational diversity in the workplace, feel free to shoot her an email at To learn more about this topic, check out our HR Insiders podcast, available on Soundcloud and iTunes.

Bringing Creativity into the Hiring Process

Group Interview

On December’s episode of our HR Insider Podcast, we sat down with Alyssa Light, a keynote speaker who is revolutionizing the interviewing process.

She has boosted companies’ hiring success rate up to 90% by innovating the way they conduct interviews. As she explains, “I’ve hired over 100 people in the last three years. For most people, that would be absolutely cringe worthy. What makes it more difficult for people to believe is that they’re all millennials.”

Below, she shares several ways to flip the interview process to recruit the most creative individuals.

Conduct a group interview

Alyssa explains, “When I did these interviews, I had between 5 and 15 people in an interview. I would do it with myself, and generally speaking, with two other people I had previously hired for our leadership team. People would bring three copies of their resume and one copy of their references.”

However, Alyssa does more than throw interviewees into a room together. Part of the requirements for the interview include certain items to bring and show to the group.

Bring things along

For interviews Alyssa conducts, applicants must bring three items. With her outside-the-box thinking comes a surprising list of items: “They had to bring an item that represents who they are as a person, a dollar store item that starts with the second letter of their middle name, and an activity that was between five and ten minutes long to do with the whole group.”

Each of the three items tells a different story about who the applicant is and how they interact with others.

For the item that represents you, Alyssa explains that each person partners up with someone else in the room. They discuss with their partner why they brought their particular object. Instead of reiterating this to the group, each partner is responsible for explaining how the person is most like their object. For example, if a person brought a soccer jersey, his partner could say something like, “This is David. I have this soccer jersey that is like him. It’s really fun because he likes to play games. He likes to get involved, and be careful because the man can be loud.”

Alyssa points out that there’s a big difference between making a connection about the person and items rather than saying “he brought this because he likes it.”

This truly allows a person’s charisma and flexibility to shine through.

The second item is something a person found at the dollar store that begins with the second letter of their middle name. Again, this encourages a person to display their creativity. One of the most common letters is A; there are many routine things people bring, but despite this, there’s still room for them to branch out and grab something uncommon.

The perfect example: a woman came in where the second letter of her middle name was U. Alyssa points out, “the letter U is not something most things start with. You think about umbrellas. This woman said, ‘Oh, I didn’t want to just bring an umbrella.’ Instead, she walked up and down the aisles looking for things until she found some utensils. She thought, ‘these are so practical because afterwards, I can actually use these, and I got them in my favorite color. They actually only had pink, and white, and blue out, and I really love green. So I had to go find somebody to ask if they could get me some green ones off the shelf.’” This woman was able to show her personality in a way people who chose umbrellas weren’t able to.

Do an activity

The activity portion of the interview creates the most possibilities. Not only does it allow a person to showcase his or her leadership abilities, but it also shows how a group member responds to that leadership.

Alyssa recalls one in particular that made an impact. “I had a young man come in, and he was learning to play the guitar. He said, ‘I’m not very good at it. I only learned two songs, but I really want to try because I’d really love to play for the kids at camp.’ He wasn’t great. By all standards, I didn’t have a clue what song he was playing, and I was supposed to know it. But it was so nice to see the people in that interview who encouraged him, who said, ‘Hey, really good try.’ Or, ‘Hey, I could teach you something later.’ Or, ‘Hey, why the heck would you do that?’ That’s the people we wouldn’t hire. So we’re watching the people participate and react to him as a leader more than we’re watching him lead the group.”

Flip the interview

The standard interview involves people from the company asking questions to their potential new hire. However, as Alyssa points out, “you don’t have to be the ones interviewing. You don’t have to sit there and prepare a huge list with checkboxes and score sheets. Certainly sometimes those things matter, but is the interaction not what matters more? What we’ve done is prepare a standard email that we send out to people who we’re inviting in. It says, ‘Hey, by the way, you’re interviewing us, you tenacious, charismatic, dynamic person.”

Sure, such an email might throw the candidate off-guard, but it will certainly keep them more involved in the process. You can also learn a lot from them based on the questions they ask you.

Ultimately, the interview is about having a conversation. Although, “At the end of your interview, you want to have about three standards questions that you ask that are asked to everybody. Remember that in some places, there are regulations or legal requirements for creating a fair and equitable interview. So make sure that you know what those are and you follow those.” It’s a great idea to make one of those three standard questions something about the worst part of the job they’re going to do just to see how they’ll react.


These innovative interview strategies are making a huge impact on the way companies conduct their business. And you don’t have to be a creative agency to utilize them; industries across the board can benefit from tenacious, free-thinking individuals.

If you’re interested in getting in contact with Alyssa Light, reach her at 519-362-3281 or with any questions.

Promoting Employee Retention in Start-ups

In October’s episode of our HR Insider Podcast, we had the opportunity to interview Zoraida Castillo, an HR consultant around Dallas, Texas. Zoraida has worked with a number of start-up companies in the oil and gas business and has experienced rapid growth firsthand. She has three key areas of advice for anyone trying to increase the retention rate of employees

Hire Right

If a startup grows quickly enough, there are sure to be many positions that need to be filled. While it’s tempting to hire immediately, Zoraida cautions this approach. She explains, “Don’t hire out of desperation because you really want to take your time screening resumes, doing phone interviews and coordinating visits with the people like the managers and supervisors.” Even though you need more people, it’s important to make sure they’re the right people. Because as Zoraida explains, “Sometimes you just want to hire the first person who walks in the door, but that can hurt you later if you find out they don’t have the skillset or don’t fit the culture.” Go through the hiring process the proper step-by-step way, even if it feels slow.

Sometimes growth is unpredicted, but other times a startup likely knows beforehand that new people will be needed soon. Don’t wait until the need arises; start early. Zoraida explains her company’s method to do just that: “We started partnering with some recruiters and some staffing agencies to be proactive. We’d explain that in the next few months we would need so and so position to be filled. What can you do before-hand? Do you have any candidates lined up that would fit this position? Please send him to us.” A big point if you take this route: make sure to stick to the deadline you give the job candidate. Not everyone is willing to wait around after delays, and if your candidate gets hired by someone else that means double the work for you.

Build Up

Zoraida explains that your company culture is important from the very beginning. Many start-ups will have the mentality that “‘No, we’ll put this on hold. The funds aren’t there. It’s not within our budget.’ But before you know it, your employees start leaving because you didn’t develop them. They no longer see the need to stay with this company” and go someplace else. Don’t wait to create a rewarding culture until it’s too late. Prioritize creating a strong culture, even if you don’t have an abundance of funds.

Just as important to the culture are the employees themselves. When an employee feels valued, he or she is going to be more likely to stay. One tactic Zoraida uses to increase appreciation is promoting from within the company. She points out that “It might be just a lateral move or within the same department, but just change the title around. It makes the employees feel good because it feels like a promotion.” A change in title creates a clear way to see that the employee has moved up in the ranks. Obviously, this tactic cannot be used all the time or employees will wonder why there is no pay raise to accompany their new title. However, a title change can be a great method to increase employee morale.


A huge part of retention is about how engaged the employee feels at work. Zoraida explains it well when she says, “Those employees you have hired, don’t let them stop learning and being challenged. Don’t let them get bored. Encourage them to do their best. Offer conferences or seminars they can attend on the employer’s dime, and have them find time to sign up.” If your employee is bored, he will hate coming to work. And if he hates coming to work, he’ll likely find some other place to be.

Benefits are also a great motivator – not just package benefits like a 401(k) or dental insurance. Instead, Zoraida explains that rewarding employees for work well done is another great retention device. “We started appreciating our employees for their hard work by giving out gift cards. If we knew an employee would be traveling, we gave a spa package to him and his wife and surprised them with a nice hotel stay.” Paying for a one-time benefit such as this will show the employee he is valued by the company, and it will linger in his mind for a long time.

An even simpler benefit comes with having a strong culture: don’t be afraid to engage in social outings. Within Zoraida’s company, “Once a month, there was a team gathering off-site whether it was Topgolf or whether it was just attending a baseball game.” If the employees are friends, it will be more difficult for one employee to make the decision to leave. Putting in simple measures to engage employees creates stronger retention and happier workers – the perfect win-win. Later, if your company grows to the point that it can offer more benefits and a reward bonus structure, that’s even better. But offering simple benefits in the meantime can still engage employees and promote company retention.

If you’d like to reach out or have any specific questions for Zoraida, feel free to send her an email at

How to Beat the Business Travel Blues


How to beat the business travel blues

If you equate work with frequent traveling or being away from home for extended stretches, at some point in your career you’ve probably experienced the Business Travel Blues. You know, the feeling of being stuck in yet another hotel for an indefinite length of time, missing out on the benefits of being in your own home. At PC Housing, we understand the Business Travel Blues, and we know how to fight it.



The first step to taking down the Business Travel Blues comes with combating genericism. Sure, hotels can be nice, but they often come in the exact same model: generic patterned hallway carpet that is somehow both busy and boring, uninteresting pieces of art haunting the walls, and a sad morning breakfast featuring off-brand cereal that immediately reminds you that you are in a hotel and away from home. We hate that too.

Rather than a generic hotel space, PC Housing acquires premium apartments. We accent every apartment with our own signature touches, including a DVD player for your favorite movies and a kitchen fully stocked with dishes and cookware, ready for you to serve up your own signature dish.



We understand that arrival can be a whirlwind, which is why you are free to check-in any time, as it is convenient for you. Upon arrival, we provide each apartment with a complimentary welcome package of groceries and any other items you mentioned needing during the reservation process. Our mission is to remove the stress of business travel and make your stay as smooth as possible. If any issues or needs arise, our guest service support team is available 24/7 to assist you. The convenience of our excellent customer service is a quick cure for the frustrations of being away from home.



Location is a key factor for how happy you’ll be in your temporary home, and our prime locations provide an excellent way to beat the Business Travel Blues. Instead of existing just off a highway on the edge of town, our apartments feature prime locations: near schools, shopping centers, nightlife, and your work. We at PC Housing don’t push you to commit to one of our open properties simply to fill a vacancy; we find you the best temporary housing solution where you need it, when you need it, and within a budget. To top it off, we will provide you with the best housing options to meet your needs within two hours of contacting us!

With so many benefits, it’s easy to imagine a PC Housing property as your own, unique space. We know how to make you comfortable, and we’ll comfortably help out the company budget, too. Our rates are typically 30-50% less than that of a hotel, and if you’re not happy with your stay, we’ll give you a refund. Not that you’ll need it, because when you stay with PC Housing, the Business Travel Blues don’t stand a chance.

Go ahead, make yourself at home.

Introducing Our New Business Development Manager, Noelle Brown

We are pleased to announce that corporate housing specialist, Noelle Brown, has joined our PC Housing team as our Business Development Manager!

Noelle is a familiar name and face to many within the corporate housing industry. She is an experienced sales professional with more than 20 years of experience and knowledge in global mobility, relocation and contract negotiation. In her new role, Noelle will build strategic partnerships with organization leaders and effectively align and support key business initiatives while working towards improving the temporary housing experience for both temporary and transferee needs, and identify innovative and cost-effective solutions for PC Housing’s valued clients.

Noelle will represent PC Housing at the 2018 Worldwide ERC® Americas Mobility Conference (AMC) in Dallas, Texas, May 16 – 18. Recognized as the largest mobility meeting in the Americas, it brings together innovative corporate, government, and mobility leaders in the industry.

Prior to joining PC Housing, Noelle was most recently the Global Sales Representative for MyKey Global Accommodations and Senior National Account Manager for Oasis Corporate Housing. Noelle is a member of the Worldwide ERC, Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA), and the National Apartment Association (NAA).

When asked about her experience with our company, Noelle said, “I am happy and proud to have joined PC Housing, an industry leader within the temporary corporate housing industry. Guided and driven by PC Values, our service delivery model focuses on personalization and effectiveness so that guests are guaranteed a stress-free temporary living solution. PC Housing is a breath of fresh air for the corporate housing industry created by a dedicated, fun-loving positive corporate culture!”

“At PC Housing we seek out team members who are passionate about their career and those we serve. Noelle is truly committed to our by-line of ‘Delivering Personalized Housing Solutions with HEART,’ said PC Housing President Alex Shahabe. “Noelle is a consummate professional whose knowledge, drive, and enthusiasm parallel our goals for continued growth and expansion. We welcome Noelle to our family!”


3 Hottest Topics Within Employee Compensation

On a recent episode of HR Insider, we had the chance to sit down with Kimer Moore, owner of Capriccio HR. Capriccio is a human resources consulting firm that specializes in strategic HR and Total Rewards services and solutions for small and medium-sized organizations. Having spent much of her 19-year career in compensation, Kimer shared with us some of the hottest topics in compensation that she is seeing today.


Topic #1: Keeping Up With Legal Changes

There’s a lot going on in our country related to employee compensation, and helping companies stay on top of everything is more important than ever. One trending topic, of course, is the shifting legal landscape of benefits as dictated by the Affordable Care Act. Laws are changing, and companies must ensure they remain compliant.

In addition to the ACA, Kimer explains, “FLSA, which is your Fair Labor Standards Act, also has some legal changes that we’re trying to kind of keep on top of, making sure that people are compliant. But everything is bouncing back and forth. Do we do it? Do we not do it? So a big trend in compensation and benefits right now is just keeping an eye on what’s going on in the legal universe and making sure that the company is compliant with that.”

Topic #2: Equal Pay

The topic of equal treatment in the workplace has garnered more attention in the mainstream than ever before; this means that companies must ensure they aren’t in violation of any laws. Kimer says, “There is a lot going on around equal pay and equal rights. That’s another thing we’re trying to keep an eye on, making sure companies are paying people for the work that they do and not based on any other factor like gender. Some states have even started to implement rules stating that you cannot ask a candidate what their prior salary was at a company. You can only ask what they’re looking for.” Ultimately, companies need to take a step back and make sure they are paying every employee consistently with the market.

Topic #3: Total Compensation Packages

The last hot topic Kimer shared with us is the importance of the total compensation packages, beyond base salary. While potential and current employees alike often get caught up in the salary alone, it is important for employers to communicate the total value of the entire package. Kimer adds, “I think somewhere a company could get a little bit more bang for its buck, if you will, is offering good benefits packages to the employees in order to attract and retain people. When you give employees good benefits at your company, those are things that make it harder to leave because they’ve become used to the comfort of those benefits, and other companies may not necessarily have it as good. So benefits are another option for companies to attract talent and add value.”

While compensation is certainly not a new topic, it is an ever-evolving one. There are always new laws and policies being put in place and it is important for companies to be aware of these.

5 Myths About Millennials in the Workplace

On a recent episode of HR Insider, we had the chance to talk with Mary Larocca, Vice President of Global Business Development at Cornerstone Relocation Group. She debunked five common myths about millennials and shared insight into how best to approach this generation from an HR and Relocation perspective.

Myth #1: All Millennials Are Alike

A big mistake companies make is overlooking the individual needs of millennial employees because they assume certain likes and dislikes about their generation. “Everyone is unique and everybody has different things that contribute to who they are,” says Mary. “So try to find what’s individual about the person and what’s going to make things important for them. I think that’s a big thing that can be done even from the recruiting stage over to the HR stage.”

A great way to avoid the pitfall of generalizing the wants of a generation is to acknowledge people’s different needs by offering choices to your employees. It is unrealistic to individualize each policy, but your company can offer a set of options that employees can choose from. This is especially important when it comes to relocation. Mary suggests, “Give someone three or four choices that your company is okay with providing, then whoever is making the choice will feel like they’re invested in [what they have chosen] … Remember that somebody might want to just pack themselves up and move and one might want to have an option to use that money towards pet sitting or some other thing.” Millennials are not a “one size fits all” generation. Acknowledge the individual needs of your employees by offering options.


Myth #2: Millennials Have Social Interaction Issues

A big stereotype about millennials is that they are more comfortable with sitting behind a computer and chatting online than they are with talking on the phone or face-to-face. While it is true that the former is a more common way for millennials to communicate, it doesn’t mean they are anti-social. The fact that this generation communicates and shares their interests online can be a real asset to HR professionals because it can give them insight into what their employees like and need.

Mary recommends using the internet to HR’s advantage with a little online research to help form connections between employees. Identify some of your employees’ interests by searching online and find a way to bridge those interests with team building activities. She says, “When you’re having a relocation program, maybe think about things like shared housing or doing social outings that have a purpose. We recently, here in Arizona, went out to a food bank and handled giving out food to people who needed it in the Phoenix community. Things like that help people feel connected and make our world feel a little smaller.” Though it may seem like millennials prefer to stay behind their computer screen, they still need connection and purpose. Motivate them with meaningful causes and opportunities to spend time with their team.

Myth #3: Millennials Have No Loyalty

The millennial generation has gained a reputation of having no loyalty because it is much more common for them to work at multiple companies throughout their career compared to previous generations. While it is true that changing employers is much more common for millennials, this doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a lack of loyalty. Mary points out that millennials have loyalty to themselves. “Being loyal to yourself, to the process, and making yourself happy is much different than loyalty to a big company or a manager,” she explains. This commonality among millennials is beneficial for companies to know. Mary says, “From an HR perspective, think about what’s important to the person that you are managing or the person that you’re bringing on.” By listening to what your employee wants, you will know how to keep them at your company.

Therefore, it is more about companies adapting to a generation that has different desires and wants to be loyal to themselves. In knowing this, companies can retain millennials by allowing them opportunities to do something that they love. Mary points out how critical it is for the HR community to ask each person on their team or each person that they are moving what’s important to them. She says, “Sometimes [managers] just don’t want to ask the question and I think they’re missing out on an opportunity to really make someone feel loyal and connected, and [millenials] do that by being passionate about things.”


Myth 4: Millennials Can’t Take Ownership

A common trait in millennials is that they are about a shared economy. Mary points out that “[Millennials] want to have things, but only when it makes sense. [They] don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a purse, for example, when [they] can rent one and just use it for the season or an afternoon.” There is a shift in the mindset of ownership in which millennials want to use objects when needed and let others enjoy their use when they are not needed, rather than just sitting unused.

To expand upon this myth, Mary highlights how experiences are more valuable to millennials than accumulating material goods. From an HR perspective, she suggests, “Think about the experience you can give an employee… Is there an experience that you can give that employee that might make them be able to stay with the company longer? Is there an assignment overseas that they could go for three months because they don’t have all the things that can tie them back home in the U.S.?” Use the new perspective on ownership to help motivate your millennial employees by providing them with the option to collect new experiences through your company.

Myth #5: Millenials Can’t Make Decisions

The myth that millennials are indecisive has evolved from the ability to research and comparison shop. Millennials make decisions, but they tend to research ahead of time online before making those decisions. The common practice of online research is an important factor for businesses to consider when recruiting millennials. Mary suggests, “Research yourself and see what impression you are giving…  If you’re trying to portray something, make sure that’s really what’s coming across from a technology standpoint because that’s where everyone’s going to go first to look.” Having the insight that millennials do make decisions, but they shop around first, will help ensure that your online presence is properly representing your business and attracting your desired candidates.

When it comes to stereotypes about generations, it’s helpful to have an idea of what to expect and how to handle interactions; yet, in the end, we are talking about individual human beings, and no one person is the same. Mary sums it up perfectly when she says, “You really can find real connections and real loyalty when you find out what’s important to a person and what makes them an individual.”


3 HR Trends to Watch

Recently, we sat down with Dr. Stevie Dawn, the owner and founder of Orange Compass, who works with human resources departments across the country implementing emotional intelligence-based training. She shed some light on three of the most talked-about topics in HR today: Talent acquisition, millennials in the workplace, and succession training.


Talent Acquisition

Dr. Dawn:  “At this point, companies can’t afford to make [hiring] mistakes anymore. They have to hire the right people at the right time and that means having people who are specialists in that talent field, so I think [we’re] seeing a lot of HR professionals start to divide into regular, strategic, tactical HR, and talent acquisition. It’s a different mode. You have to be able to read people differently and look at different assessment tools and things like that in the talent field. One of the biggest hot-button issues right now is just finding good talent.”

Dr. Dawn makes a great point: hiring people is much more difficult today than it was 20 years ago. You are looking for talented people that will be a good fit for your organization, and finding the right person means looking at all the individual pieces and putting them together.


Millennials in the Workplace

Dr. Dawn:There are millennials coming through the ranks that have the skill set, as far as they’ve got the knowledge. They’ve gone to college. We’re making college something more and more people can do, which is awesome. So more and more people are getting a college education and they have those skill sets, but they’re not getting any work experience along the way, which then falls to HR because once they’re hired, who has to train them? The HR department is now having to do more on the job training than they’ve ever had to do before, especially in things like soft skills and how to be a good employee. If they’ve never had a job, they’ve never learned that skill.”

Millennials in the workplace is certainly a hot topic today, and they are entering the workforce in droves. Companies are being forced to adjust to these new employees who are more different from their predecessors than any other generation before them. Empowering millennials with soft skills training is an excellent way to bridge the gap.


Succession Training

Dr. Dawn:What we’re seeing is a lot of the top level executives at companies are leaving and moving on to another stage of their life and therefore, there are openings at the top but we don’t have a lot of people trained within to handle those kinds of positions. We’ve trained them to do very specific jobs, but we have not trained them to have strategic vision. We have not trained them in critical thinking. And so, can they really manage a huge organization if they’ve only ever managed their one department of 10 people? As organizations, we’ve got to start thinking about succession planning.”

Unprepared successors are an issue businesses have begun to run into as executives retire. To bypass this problem, Dr. Dawn points out that companies need to train the upcoming generation to lead at a larger scale. Empowering employees with a strategic and big picture skill set will make for a much more effective transition to leadership down the line.

To hear Dr. Stevie Dawn’s entire interview and more bits of wisdom, you can listen here.


What to Consider When Hiring Someone With a Conviction

We sat down with Lee, an HR Director at one of the nation’s leading homeless services providers, to talk about his work in the nonprofit sector. He specifically works with hiring employees who have convictions on their records. While this is a group that typically struggles to find employment, Lee doesn’t shy away from investing in these employees and shared with us some of his experience and advice.

Lee has a passion for second chances and has changed lives due to his heart and drive. While a lot of organizations don’t even consider applicants with a felony conviction, Lee looks at each situation individually and uses many different qualifiers to determine if someone will be a good fit, regardless of their past.

“We’ll take a look at the conviction, we’ll use the [individualized assessment of criminal history] on how long it has been and consider what the felony was, what the conviction was, how long since they served time, and what their behavior has been since they came out. You can get a very passionate employee when you give somebody a chance that nobody else is willing to give them.”

He also offers advice for HR representatives looking to follow in his footsteps:

“The very first thing you have to do is take a critical assessment of the job and the job description. Once you’ve made a critical assessment of what the job looks like, what the exposures that they’re going to have are, what crimes probably do not fit with the job, you do your background investigation and take a look at the individual.”

Lee employs a very holistic approach; in addition to looking at if the crime will be a conflict with the potential job, he looks at the time that has elapsed since the conviction and whether several crimes have been committed in the past several years.

“You can get a very passionate employee when you give somebody a chance that nobody else is willing to give them.”

It is important to distinguish if past criminal activity is indicative of a pattern or if it was a one-time thing. He also makes sure to differentiate between a conviction and an arrest:

“What is the conviction? Was it truly a conviction? Or was it just an arrest? If it’s an arrest, you know, lots of people have had false accusations made against them. Look for the conviction. If it was one to three years ago, I probably would say that’s a red flag. If it’s three to seven years ago, then you might want to take a very serious look at it. Ask them to take a look at their environment since the fulfillment of whatever obligation they had. If it’s more than seven to ten years ago, why are we even talking about it? Unless it’s a directly related crime, what you are you being exposed to?”

Lee puts his belief that change is possible for an individual into action, and he has seen firsthand how much of an impact these second chances can have on one’s life. We asked him to leave us with one piece of advice, the best advice he has heard throughout his career, and it seemed to encompass his perspective nicely.

“Just don’t make any rash decisions. Consider all the possible ramifications of whatever decision you’re going to make, and make the best choice. But you can’t do that if you’re going to do it in haste.”

If you know what to look for, giving someone a second chance doesn’t have to be a huge risk. You might even get to change a life.

How To Strike the Perfect Balance Between Work and Life

business and leisure

 Sometimes it feels like technology has extended the 9-5 workday to a 24-hour workday. With a smartphone, you have the office in your pocket at all times. Because of this, it can be very tempting to answer emails at midnight or phone calls on the weekend, but these habits will drain you very quickly. The Corporate Executive Board found that employees that maintained a healthy work-life balance were 21% more productive than those who didn’t. While it may feel like you must be on-call 24/7 because everyone else is doing it, letting work take over your life can actually hurt your performance in the long run.

Establish Boundaries Early On
Nobody is going to be able to maintain your work-life balance but you. This is the most important thing to realize and accept when you set off to strike a healthy balance between your work and your personal life. Once you understand that, you will be able to establish boundaries that work for you. Talk to your boss or manager and set expectations with them early on. This should be done as soon as possible because once you start staying at the office late into the night or answering emails on the weekend, people will come to expect that from you. Setting these boundaries will help manage expectations and allow you to avoid uncomfortable conversations later on.

Take a Break When Needed
Everyone needs a break at one point or another. It’s easy to fall into the mindset that your work is too important to take a break from, but no job is more important than your own well-being. Whether it’s leaving your desk to take a short walk or planning a relaxing vacation, a break from your work can be exactly what you need to improve your performance. Employers understand that their workers are not machines and sometimes need to rest. In fact, 91% of senior business leaders believe workers return from vacations ready to work more efficiently. If you feel yourself burning out, talk to your boss about stepping away for a bit.

Make Deliberate Choices
Unfortunately, work-life balance won’t just happen. You need to make it happen, and that can be done by being deliberate in everything you do. Nobody chooses to let their work take over their life; it is usually the result of letting things slowly slide until it has become unmanageable. This can be avoided by making conscious choices and talking to the important people in your life to see what is or isn’t working. This may not be easy; it is something that you must be constantly monitoring. Come up with a plan of what is important to you, what you want to accomplish, and how you will do it. By making sure every choice you makes aligns with this plan, you will be able to strike a healthy work-life balance.

Without a doubt, it is important to work hard and be successful in your professional life. But it is also important to prioritize your personal life sometimes, and that is equally important to your happiness. A healthy work-life balance is also imperative to your professional success because you’ll find yourself overwhelmed and burned out if you focus on work 24/7. Ultimately, you’ll benefit much more by establishing a good balance.