Sunday, May 1, 2011
Orion Alumnus Attends White House Launch of "Joining Forces",
Dealing with Employee Conflict,
Renting To Strengthen Credit,
Congratulations to This Month's Winner,
Participate in Orion's Transition Corner,
Choosing a Credit Card,
Connect with Orion
Orion Alumnus Attends White House Launch of Joining Forces
Clockwise from left: Nicholas Espe with a portrait of JFK, President Obama addressing the crowd, Espe with Eric Spiegel, Siemens’ President and CEO
Nicholas Espe, a Service Specialist with Siemens Industry in Beltsville, MD, and former Nuclear Electrician’s Mate, attended the Presidential kick-off of Joining Forces at the White House on Tuesday April 12. Joining Forces, sponsored by President and Mrs. Obama, and Vice President and Dr. Biden, is a national initiative to increase programs and opportunities for military families.
According to the White House website, “Joining Forces is a comprehensive national initiative to mobilize all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.” Key priority areas include employment, education, and wellness. In the area of employment specifically, Joining Forces aims to highlight the workforce potential of veterans and military spouses; expand employment and career development opportunities for veterans and military spouses; and help employers create military family-friendly workplaces.
Several companies have partnered in this initiative, including Siemens Corporation, who has committed to reserve ten percent of its more than 3,000 open positions in their clean tech industries for veterans in a program called Siemens Initiative to Support Military Families. Siemens’ President and CEO, Eric Spiegel, attended the launch event at the White House on behalf of Siemens, along with Nicholas Espe, who found his position at Siemens through Orion a few months ago.
During his six years on active duty in the Navy, Espe was assigned to the U.S.S. Enterprise and stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. He also served on two deployments and visited ports including Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai, Cannes, and Lisbon. When it came time to transition out of the Navy, Espe partnered with Orion, which led to interviews with Siemens for three positions: Service Specialist in the Beltsville, MD; Service Specialist position in Chantilly, VA; and an opening with the Security department in Beltsville. “I had a very good experience with Orion. I enjoyed the Conference and have already put in good word of Orion with others that I know getting out of the military,” says Espe.
After a site visit to Beltsville, Espe was offered the Service Specialist position and started just before Christmas. "I choose a career with Siemens because it is a company that is rapidly expanding in terms of company growth, new innovations, and the opportunities that it presents. My position allows me to learn about HVAC systems and their controls in making everything operate together," explains Espe.
“I am very glad I was given the opportunity to attend as a representative of Siemens,” says Espe of his participation in the announcement of Joining Forces by saying, While at the White House for the launch, Espe got the chance to meet the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus. Sitting only a few rows back from the podium, he was able to hear the announcement of Joining Forces by President and Mrs. Obama, along with Vice President and Dr. Biden firsthand. “This was a very memorable moment that I shall not forget. I’m thankful I was given the opportunity to be invited to attend,” states Espe.
Espe was placed as part of an ongoing Orion-Siemens recruiting program that fills a large volume of positions across all segments of Siemens Corporation within the U.S. In addition to Espe, Orion has placed nearly 600 veterans into careers at Siemens, and is proud to be the exclusive provider of military talent to Siemens in the U.S.
According to a on Joining Forces, in addition to the Siemens Initiative to Support Military Families, there will also be job training and mentoring through an internal Veterans Network with more than 150 members for these new hires, in which Espe hopes to participate.
Additionally, Walmart and Sam’s Club’s Military Family Promise guarantees a job at a nearby store for all military personnel and spouses, employed at Walmart and Sam’s Club, who move to a different part of the country because they or their spouse have been transferred by the United States military. And Sears’ “PCS Promise” will provide transfers in the cases of Permanent Change of duty Station (PCS), retirement, or separation, depending on job availability and performance, for all military personnel and spouses employed at Sears Holdings.
Orion is proud to have had an alumnus present at the announcement of Joining Forces and wishes Espe continued luck in his new career. We also applaud the creation of Joining Forces and the companies who have made commitments to increase opportunities for military members and their family. Finally, Orion is also proud to maintain an ongoing partnership with , as they work toward their goal of hiring even more veterans.
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Dealing with Employee Conflict
It seems as though the elementary school rule of “playing nice with everyone” is not practiced very well by adults in the workplace. According to a new survey by Accountemps (a specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals), “Managers interviewed said they spend, on average, 18 percent of their time—more than seven hours a week or nine weeks per year—intervening in employee disputes.” This isn’t actually something new. This trend has been going strong since 1991 and shows no sign of slowing down.
The survey results signal that managers are spending too much time resolving workplace conflicts, which gets in the way of business priorities. Having a chronically short-staffed department tends to be the cause of this friction, as employees are more competitive with one another. While they realize that workplace conflict will never be fully eliminated, Accountemps offers five steps to help managers avoid these conflicts.
1. Know When To Step In – One of the first rules of Parenting 101 is to allow children the time to work the problem out on their own. This rule should be applied to the workplace, as well. A manager doesn’t need to step in for every minor problem. However, it is important to know when to intervene. Turning a blind eye to major issues will only impact productivity and employee morale. Stay on top of things, but don’t over manage.
2. Don’t Let One Bad Apple Spoil The Bunch – If one employee appears to be the problem, the manager should be sure to address that employee individually and remind them that their job requires team cooperation. The manager should provide the employee conflict resolution training. If this doesn’t resolve the issue, termination may be an appropriate step.
3. Help Employees Get To Know Each Other – A manager or company should provide opportunities for employees to get to know one another through non-work activities, such as lunches or volunteer activities.
4. Reward Positive Role Models – Managers should praise and promote employees that work well in teams. They should make clear to other employees the reason for the praise and promotion.
5. Set An Example - Be sure to make the work environment one that is open and non-combative. Make sure your management style aligns with that philosophy.
These tips can help managers reduce the amount of time spent in the workplace resolving employee conflicts. But be sure to hire smart, as well. Don’t make poor hiring decisions. Take your time when bringing someone on board, and always keep the doors of communication open.
Renting To Strengthen Credit
Some people fear that renting won’t help build credit and will work against the goal of owning a home. Renting may not affect your credit score directly, but showing a mortgage banker that you pay your rent on time each month will certainly work in your favor. Renting also gives you time to repair and/or build your credit score, so that you qualify for the best mortgage interest rates when you are able, or wish, to purchase a new home.
While you are renting, take the time to review your credit report from all three major credit-reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Determine what areas need to be improved upon. Also, determine any areas that you believe to be untrue and need to be disputed. Each credit-reporting agency offers a list of steps to be taken if you notice any error or have a dispute. Once the agency has corrected the error, it will send you a corrected report. Check the report again and be sure all of the information is now correct. If not, you may have to repeat the process, and it may need to be done several times. This can take several months, so if you have a goal to purchase a home within a year’s time, it may prove beneficial to begin the process of fixing your credit report now.
If the main reason you want to reduce your debt is to improve your credit score, experts recommend using a round robin approach. With a round robin approach, you start by paying down all of your debt to about 30% of the credit limit on each of your credit cards. This helps to improve your credit score. Then work towards the goal of 20% and finally down to 10%. At this point, you will likely see your credit score jump dramatically between 30 and 70 points.
Finally, start saving your down payment. Rent a lower priced apartment or home that allows you the flexibility to save for a down payment. Set a goal of just 3.5% of your target mortgage, so that you can qualify for an FHA loan. If you are able to save 20%, you will qualify for lower interest rates and avoid mortgage insurance costs.
The key repairing your credit is to use the time while you're renting to concentrate on getting your credit report in great shape. That way you’ll have a better advantage when determining interest rates and what you are able to afford.
Congratulations to This Month's Winner
Participate in Orion's Transition Corner
Choosing a Credit Card
If you live in the United States, chances are you use a credit card or at least have one in your wallet. In fact, according to January 2010 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, there are 609.8 million credit cards held by U.S. consumers. Most people apply through a bank issued mail offer or store offer. Store offers often come with a promise of discount if you apply on the spot. The problem with these types of offers is that they often do not offer the best interest rates and come with sneaky fees.
First, a consumer must consider if a credit card is going to help or hurt their credit score. If the answer is hurt, then the person should not be applying for the credit card. If the answer is it won’t hurt or it will help, then the person should consider the following things when selecting the appropriate card.
1. Think twice about store credit cards. Generally you do get a discount on the purchase, but if your balance revolves, the discounts often go away. Store cards also tend to carry a very high interest rate and of course can only be used at that particular store.
2. Think about your habits. Will you pay off your card each month, or do you already know that you will carry a revolving balance? If you do think you’ll carry revolving credit, interest rates become extremely important. If you pay off your card each month, they are less so.
3. Choose a card with flexibility. Make sure the card you choose is accepted at all of the stores you frequent. If you choose a card that isn’t accepted at the places you shop, what is the point in having it?
4. Try to find a high credit limit card. No, not so you can shop more, but because you want to have a low balance in relation to how much open credit you have. This is called credit utilization ratio. It compares the amount of credit being used to the total available credit.
5. Examine Fees. You must be sure to read the fine print and know exactly what you are getting. What is the interest rate? How does it change if you go over the limit or pay late? Is there an annual fee? These things are critical to find out when signing up for a new credit card.
6. Rewards! Credit card companies have gotten very good at offering special rewards to lure customers in. Just be sure that the offer is something that doesn’t have too many limitations. Many flight rewards have stipulations that most travelers can’t meet. Cash and other gift card offers might be better choices for non-frequent travelers.
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