Friday, October 30, 2009

What’s Your Currency?: Million Dollar Journey

What’s Your Currency?: Million Dollar Journey

Posted: 27 Oct 2009 03:30 AM PDT
I like getting paid. Who doesn't? If my employer ran out of money tomorrow, I'd be looking for a new job fast. Yet basic salary isn't what motivates me to work harder. My regular salary is like getting a C on a report card. It says, "You did your work. It was was we agreed upon. It was satisfactory." In order to feel satisfied in my work I need to feel appreciated and valued. I need more than a C.
Employees who feel valued are more likely to stay long term with an organization. A basic paycheck does little to motivate people to go the extra mile. A little positive feedback motivates people and reduces attrition rates. Most of these ideas have little financial cost and yet companies have the potential to save a lot of money by not having to hire and train new people, having workers who consistently work harder and who are loyal to the organization.
Here are a number of different currencies.

Financial Remuneration

This is basic pay. It's my agreed upon wage. It's very motivating in terms of keeping my job but doesn't go much beyond that. It absolutely needs to be there for most people. If you work in non-profit, you may have a number of volunteers. It's especially important to pay your volunteers with a different kind of currency if you have any hope of keeping them long term.

Financial Bonus

A financial bonus can be tied to company profit or individual effort. It's a monetary bonus on top of a regular salary. Sadly, regular yearly expected bonuses become much like regular salary. Unexpected bonuses or bonuses that individuals can work towards can be a great way to increase morale and motivate employees.

Token Bonus

A token bonus is a small gift that recognizes an employee's effort. This might be a gift certificate, a book or in the case of RIM employees, tickets to a U2 concert! It doesn't have to cost much but recognizes effort in a tangible way. I know of one large company whose employees make signifiant salaries. Yet the weekly meeting where one outstanding employee receives a $20 gift certificate to a local restaurant, has been a huge motivating force.

Public Verbal Recognition

Public verbal recognition occurs when a supervisor publicly recognizes employees. It may be in front of one or two other employees or in a larger group meeting. This is the one that is farthest from what motivates me. I have a supervisor who does this regularly and I'm often embarrassed to be publicly recognized. I don't like being the centre of attention. For others, receiving public recognition is key to feeling valued.

Private / Written Recognition

I confess. This one is my currency. During an interview when an employer brings up remuneration, I'm often tempted to hold up a sign that reads, "Will work for appreciation." All it takes is a one line e-mail that says, "Well done", "Good job on the presentation", "Keep up the good work", and I'm good to go for months. I thrive under authentic feedback.

Positive Formal Review

For some, receiving a positive formal review makes all the difference. It's a formal tangible document that becomes part of that person's employment history. It shows quantifiable areas of success and growth.
As an employer, it's important to figure out what it is that motivates your employees and helps them to feel valued and appreciated. One of the best methods is to try them all and see what works. Don't be surprised when different people are motivated by different currencies.
People are discouraged in these difficult economic times. I've heard from many recently that morale is low in their organization. Remunerating people in their currency is a great way to increase morale and encourage employees. It doesn't have to cost a lot but the dividends are priceless.
What's your currency?
Kathryn works in public relations and training for a non profit. In her off hours, she volunteers as a financial coach helping ordinary Canadians with the basics of money management. Her passions include personal finance and adult education. Kathryn, along with her husband and two children live in Ontario.
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Normal is Broke

Living With A Chain

How to Get a Job when No One is Hiring

When the jobs are hidden

To get a job, you have to find the openings that no one's advertising, and really impress your potential employer.

By Jia Lynn Yang, writer-reporter

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- David Perry, a longtime headhunter, says you're wasting your time if you're looking for job postings online. And he should know: he's often the guy on the other side helping companies lure new talent. Perry, who's based in Ottawa, says that in the last 22 years he has accomplished 996 searches totaling $172 million in salary. And the bottom line in today's economy, he says, is you have to tap the "hidden job market."

Perry's also the co-author of "Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters" and he recently spoke with Fortune.

What's the "hidden job market"?

When companies say, 'We have a hiring freeze,' that doesn't mean they're not hiring. It just means they're not adding headcount. Every year there's 20-25% turn over. So in a 1,000-person company, 200 or 250 people are going to turn over, either through attrition, or someone moves. Those companies are still hiring but they don't want to tell you.

So how do you find these jobs?

What you have to do in a recession is map your skills to employers to where you know they have a problem you can solve. My advice to job hunters is pick 10 to 20 companies, no more, and pick companies you're interested in, and that you think you can add value to. That requires researching companies, and so that list may take you two weeks. If you're trying to crack the hidden job market and you know the job position you want reports to vice president, find that vice president on LinkedIn and look at his profile to see who else he's connected to and go ask them, 'What's this guy like to work for?' Do the research before you even pick up the phone.

How can you get someone's attention?

We can go into billboards, sandwiches - that stuff only works once. It's only for one person who figures it out once, once in a city. If you're looking for fun stuff, we have this thing called the coffee cup caper, 30% of the time it will result in an interview. You send an employer a coffee cup with a little $5 swipe card with a little note that says, I'd like to get together and talk with you over coffee. I'll be calling soon. And you send it by U.S. post two day delivery, and that gets registered. So when they've signed for it, you wait about 20 minutes and then you call them. And then you go, Hi, I know you just got my package.' You're proving you're imaginative and creative.

What something people should avoid during a job interview?

This drives me insane: I've seen people mentally deciding in the interview whether they want the job. That's the last place to decide. You go into an interview, and you sell like your life depends on it. You've got to get the job first. I've seen it thousands of times. There's this point in the interview, where people go 'Hmm, do I really want this? You can see their body change. The employer picks it up and it's gone. If the employer is telling you, 'I love you,' and you're not saying 'I love you too,' it's over with.

How about following up afterwards?

If you really like the opportunity, don't go home and write thank you very much. Go back and write a letter that says, upon further reflection of what we were talking about, here's what I bring to the table, here's how I see myself fitting into the organization, including a 30-60-90 day plan.

How can someone attract a recruiter's attention?

You have to go to ZoomInfo and LinkedIn and create a profile. All corporate recruiters and probably 20% of the headhunters in America have ZoomInfo accounts. When we start a search, companies aren't going to advertise. The headhunter goes to ZoomInfo, types in requirements that we need, like skillset, degree, city, functional title, and up will come anywhere from a hundred to several thousand people who fit that criteria. Then we go to LinkedIn and run the same search. If you're in ZoomInfo with a picture, we're going to call you first. Just reverse engineer what recruiters are doing so you get found.

How can you really impress a potential employer?

It hasn't worked in years just to bring in your resume, except only in the most junior positions. I concentrate on directors to CEOs, and the last interview for us regardless is always a Power Point presentation of what you've learned, pain points, and how you intend to fix that. Everyone talks about being a great leader and great communicator, so prove it. Don't go into an interview and treat it like it's just another business meeting. Your career is your biggest asset now - because it's certainly not your house. To top of page


August 2008 Dave Ramsey on Barack Obama

This was aired in August 2008. So was Dave right???