Standing Out at the Water Cooler

Reflecting on the HR news for the week ending March 15th, 2013:

External Forces

Sometimes finding professional success relies on factors that are outside of our control. Maybe the right job just didn’t come along at the right time. One thing we can control, however, is how hard we work. This week, Inc. breaks down why hard work does matter, even in the face of elusive factors like luck. We can’t all be the smartest kid in the class, but we can be the hardest working.

HR stand out

It's okay to stand out a little!

It’s tempting to get bogged down by the things that aren’t in our control, but you should focus instead on what you can control. Yes, work-life balance is important, but putting in the elbow grease is one way to ensure that you stand ahead of the pack.

The Confidence Factor

In another post, Inc. also offers up six tips to get noticed. Shrinking violets aren’t going to get very far—you have to put yourself out there. You need to decide what you want to be known for, and let your results speak for you. Build your brand. It’s nice if you can talk a big game, but if you don’t have anything to back it up, no one will take you seriously.

It’s also important to talk about what you believe in. You’ll attract the most faith and goodwill if people believe that your words are coming from your heart. Don’t be afraid to admit your shortcomings. By being honest about where you struggle: you’ll save the embarrassment of having someone else point it out to you. Finally, speak well of others. It’s a great way to develop workplace karma. Spreading positive energy to other people makes them more confident and, as a result, more willing to connect with you and hear your point of view. Sharing a little bit of love can go a very long way.

Settling the Stirred Pot

Yes, Yahoo’s Marissa Meyer stirred the pot when she banned working from home, but that’s hardly the first time anyone has pointed out some of the pitfalls of telecommuting. Having a flexible work environment is great for motivation, but it’s not always good for productivity. This week, TLNT breaks down why that is and how to bridge the gap.

While individuals can be more productive working from home, teams struggle when members aren’t actually working together. Managers may also be new to working with telecommuters, and struggle to define expectations and goals. That’s often the bigger issue than workers simply catching up on this week’s Homeland. The website suggests taking the time to outline crystal-clear goals. Also spend time thinking about what days might be best—is Monday slow? do Fridays have pitfalls?—and create a clear schedule. It’s great to be flexible, but the motivational benefits of working from home will be diminished if productivity plummets.

You Can't Have Trust Without a Fall

Companies expect employees to trust their managers, the direction of the company, and the future of the business itself. So why do organizations have such a hard time trusting their own employees? Bloomberg Businessweek assesses the state of employee-employer trust, and finds that businesses often come up short. “If we were to treat our customers the way we treat our employees, they’d run for the hills,” says the author. “We treat our employees as though they’re only waiting for the chance to take us down.”

Organizations need to let go of things like the doctor’s note and harsh punishments for small mistakes. Letting employees know that you trust them builds goodwill that's invaluable. Everything that HR focuses on, from retention to productivity to hiring, can be boosted with a little love and trust.

Want to pick up an HR tip or two? Register for free email updates or take a look at last week’s HR Water Cooler.


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