How to Stay Motivated During Your Job Search

January 18th, 2019

The winter blahs can take a toll on any form of motivation. No matter what we hope to do—stay in shape, try new things, make new friends—it’s not easy to begin the process during the peak of the January doldrums. But there are few challenges harder to face in the winter then searching for a new job. So how can you get up and get out there when you’d really rather cuddle up with some cocoa and watch the snow fall? Here are few tips.

Stay focused on your goal.

Remember that landing your new job will be the kindest gift you can give yourself. If it’s what you want and need more than anything, then consider a new job the greatest form of self-care that you can offer yourself. Cocoa is nice, and cuddling up is nice, but real financial security and career growth are even nicer. Stay hydrated, get adequate sleep, and most important of all, stay focused on your most valuable goal.

Draw strength from your family and friends.

Too often, especially during the bleak winter, we tend to hide our weaknesses and problems from others. We hole up and protect ourselves by not letting anyone know what we’re going through. Do this if it makes you feel safe, but remember that your friends are part of a vast professional network and they may be able to help you in ways you don’t realize. Their help can take the form of both emotional and practical support, so know that both are available to you—if you’re willing to reach out.

Make lists and stay organized.

It’s easier to wake up, pick up your list, and start checking off items than it is to wake up to a completely blank slate. Each night, give yourself a gift for the next morning: a sense of direction and purpose. Create a list and make sure the first item is an easy one to cross off. As soon as you pour your first cup of coffee the next morning, you’ll already be on your way.

Talk to someone who can help you.

Find someone you know with specific experience in your specific field, someone who can speak to you directly about the challenges you face. You can think of this person as a long-term mentor or just a one-time conversationalist over a cup of coffee, but put yourself in their presence for a minute so you can remember where you’re going and why.

Create small goals that lead to bigger ones.

Have a few goals and to-do items on your list that you can check off in an hour. Include a few more that may take you a day. Have at least one goal that you can accomplish in a week. And a month. And so on. Break the bigger goals down into smaller tasks and maintain a sense of forward momentum.

For more on how to keep moving toward your new job, no matter what distractions and challenges lie in your way, talk to the job search team at PSU.

 

Four Tips for Better Employee Evaluations

January 11th, 2019

Improving your evaluation process can have a cascading impact on the success of both your team and your company overall. Smarter evaluations leave employees feeling motivated to succeed, they place employees on a clearly marked path to higher productivity, and then generate goodwill, since they let each employee know they are observed, known, and cared about. This feeling boosts retention, retention boosts teamwork, and teamwork brings success. Start this positive spiral by taking these four steps.

Positivity wins, negativity loses … every time.

When you scold or lecture a child, you might accomplish something meaningful or even life-saving (depending on the personality of the child). A sentence like “Never run into the street again, do you hear me?” has a place in child-rearing. But sentences like these have no place at all in a professional environment. Workers are not children. Review your words, both spoken and written, and remove anything that comes across as angry, personally critical, demeaning or threatening. This includes statements that attack the person instead of the action, for example “You aren’t good at this” instead of “You haven’t learned how to do this yet. Let’s get you the training/exposure/mentoring you need.”

Keep feedback informal and frequent.

Company policy may dictate one formal review process per year. But to make this process more effective, spend the entire year providing real-time, informal feedback on the employee’s progress and actions. Don’t watch them make a mistake in June and wait until December to officially criticize them for it. The annual review should formalize the setting of specific, measurable, actionable goals for the year ahead, based on the victories and lessons of the year just past.

Let the employee know why they (specifically) are valued here.

Avoid treating employees like indistinguishable warm bodies in chairs. Even if the job requires minimal training or experience, don’t let the employee feel dispensable. Show respect for the job and show respect for the person who holds it. Remind them why they were hired over other applicants, emphasize the importance of the role, explain the company’s hopes for them, and let them know your goal is to maintain a happy and mutually beneficial relationship. Make this clear during moments of both constructive criticism and praise. If you disrespect the person or devalue the job, expect turnover.

Set a high bar and expect the same.

Treat the employee with calm, professional positivity … and expect the same. Don’t open the door to awkward, angry, apologetic or obsequious behavior. Carefully choose the accomplishments and mistakes you decide to highlight and the terms you use to describe the employee’s journey to success. Don’t follow any turn in the conversation that slides the mood toward personal blame, shame, anger, gloating, empty promises on either side, or fear. Stay cool and collected.

For more on how to get the most out of your review process and prevent post-review turnover, contact the experts at PSU.

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