Wednesday, July 1, 2009
In This Issue:
Making the Successful Work Transition,
Monthly Contest Winner,
Consumer Confidence: On the Way Up,
Top 10 Ways to Motivate Hourly Employees
Making a Successful Work Transition
Now that you have landed that perfect job, you wonder if it will be easy to transition from your military career to your civilian job. Here are some suggestions to help you get off and running. It is easier than you think!
Your first month on the job can influence your entire career. Basic tips include coming in early and staying late. Also, ask questions, be enthusiastic and eager. Volunteer for difficult assignments and offer solutions rather than give reasons why something shouldn’t be done.
One of the most important suggestions is to leave military jargon behind. This is easier said than done, especially if you have been in the military for a long period of time. Pretend that your co-workers are your new family. You wouldn’t go home to your family and speak with them as you would your commanding officer. Try to apply the same line of thinking in dealing with your new associates.
The military taught you to accomplish specific tasks or missions under tight deadlines. These skills will translate easily in the civilian workforce. Employers are always looking for key talent. Employees that can accomplish difficult tasks quickly and efficiently will be more likely to fall into the key talent bracket.
Another suggestion is to use your eye for cost reduction in your job. All companies are looking for ways to reduce expenses and increase the bottom line. Whether you are in a supervisory role or an hourly position, be sure to suggest any ideas you might have to improve a process and therefore cut costs. This can go a long way in establishing your career.
Lastly, be sure to use the values you gained in the military to help you succeed. You were trained to think on your feet, improvise and adapt. You also learned the value of teamwork and how to deal with difficult situations. These critical skills can equal success in the civilian workforce.
The civilian workplace is a new world for you. But you can easily navigate by following the suggestions in this article. Most importantly, never underestimate your value in the corporate world. The skills you gained in the military are an invaluable asset. A quote on http://www.military.com/ by former U.S. Army Colonel William Harmon (now CIO at Perot Systems in Dallas) offers the best suggestion, “recognize business as an organizational structure that is profit motivated where tough decisions are often made at the expense of personnel in order for the business to survive. Once you recognize the character of your new environment, understand it and act accordingly.”
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Consumer Confidence: On the Way Up
The Consumer Confidence Index toppled economists’ expectations and rose to 54.9. The two major indices that assist in reporting consumer confidence rose during the month of May. The Present Situation Index, which measures consumer attitude towards the current economic situation, rose to 28.9. This was up from June’s index, which stood at 25.5. The Expectations Index, which measures consumers’ economic situation confidence for the future six months, soared to 72.3 from 51.0 in April.
Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center said these results indicate that, “while confidence is still weak by historic standards, as far as consumers are concerned, the worst is now behind us.”
The Consumer Confidence Index also showed an improvement for consumers’ outlook for jobs. The number of consumers expecting more jobs rose to 20.0%. This was an increase over the previous month, which stood at 14.2%. May showed new jobless claims continued to fall and productivity continued to rise. The Labor Department said first-time applications for state unemployment insurance benefits fell 4,000 to 621,000. The number of people still on the benefit rolls also fell. That being said, unemployment hit 9.4% in the month of May. This number is forecasted to increase until it tops out around 10%. The unemployment rate should begin to stabilize and decrease in the second half of 2010.
The housing market remained low. The S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price index fell by 19.1% in the first quarter. This is the most significant fall in the history of the index. The home purchase outlook fell over concerns of falling property values. Unfortunately the housing market has not yet reached it’s low so consumer confidence is affected by this slump.
Some retailer’s sales are beginning to stabilize, although sales fell short of May forecasts. Stocks have been rallying back for the past two months. These are two of the reasons economists believe consumer confidence is growing. Though levels still remain low, the increases indicate that shoppers are becoming more comfortable and can see the economy turning around.
Congratulations to this Month's Winner
Top 10 Ways to Motivate Hourly Employees
1. Earn Respect. Don’t talk down to your employees, they won’t have any trust in you and won’t be motivated to work hard for you. Speak candidly and approach them with confidence but not in a demeaning manner.
2. Set Goals. Make sure each employee knows what his/her goals are for that day/week/month. Provide an incentive for meeting that goal. It can be something as small as an extra 15-minute break (depending on labor/contracts), or a pizza party for the whole department if everyone meets his or her goals and objectives.
3. Bigger Picture. After reviewing each employee’s goals and objectives, review yours with them. Help them to see how what they do impacts your work and your bosses work, etc. Let them see how their work contributes to the company’s bottom line.
4. Determine What Motivates. Give an anonymous survey that determines what motivates your employees. Is it time off, recognition, money, etc.? Use the results as motivation.
5. Give Thanks. Be sure to thank your employees once in a while for a job well done. Give recognition when recognition is due.
6. Encourage Input. Ask for your employee’s opinions. Allow them to give input on improving processes. Let them provide suggestions and give feedback.
7. Positive Attitude. Make sure you put on a happy face, even when you are having a bad day or business isn’t going well.
8. Know Details. Try to remember something about each employee that shows you care about them not just as an employee but also, as a person. You could ask how their children are doing or how that class they are taking is going?
9. Show Leadership. Sometimes what you have to do isn’t always the cool thing. But you won’t be respected as a leader unless you act like one.
10. Work Hard. Make sure your employees know that you are working hard too. Don’t hand out the orders and sit at the computer playing Tetris all day. Be sure to let them see that you put in a hard day’s work.
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