Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Step Out of the Norm!

Within this blog, I try to give tips, suggestions and share experiences to make people (y’all) happier, whether that be in your career, profession, personal life, family life, etc. This entry is geared more towards personal life, but I see some parallels that can be used for your professional life too! 

It occurred to me this past weekend that I’ve been having one hell of a time lately. I’ve been enjoying my time at work and away from work. In addition to increasing my activity level by going to Zumba classes and dance classes, I’ve also tried to find time to meet up with friends that are also busy that I may have not seen in a while and have been making weekend plans that include trips, parties, etc. 

I was thinking about all of this awesomeness (great word, huh) on my way to work this morning and realized the same has been going on at work. I’ve been happier overall and have varied my day to include more things. Work is work, and not every minute is enjoyable, but overall, it’s been nice. 

So then, being the over-analyzer that I am, I was trying to figure out why such a change of pace? My past few posts clearly demonstrated some frustrations that I was dealing with and I didn’t knowingly do anything differently. I realized that I’ve been changing my environment subtlety and unconsciously. I’ve been not sticking to a routine of going to work, coming home, cooking dinner, going to sleep. I also haven’t been spending every weekend watching Netflix and cleaning the apartment. At work, I haven’t been doing one type of task ALL the time and not saying anything about my discontent. 

I’ve been STOPPING a routine and starting to do things a little more outside of the norm for me. It’s not only made me happier and more relaxed, but it makes me happier with my relationships with other people. I feel like my boyfriend and I are able to have more varied fun together. I actually get to SEE my friends IRL (in real life) and not just only on Facebook or Twitter. Because I’m less stressed and dejected at work, my relationship with my coworkers and boss has been better as well. 

While routines do work for some areas of life, sticking to one at all times gets to be monotonous and makes one less likely to do things like take an impromptu trip to the lake, go camping, attend a quick professional HH, go to dinner with a friend to help them with their resume, and go on a random date. Those things seem to be the best things to attend! It’s made my life cooler and happier, so try it and I hope it does the same for you!! 

Pic above is from a conference that is near and dear to my heart! People Report Summer Camp! #PRScamp #PRBPC on Twitter! Definitely a pic out of the norm! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Talkin' 'Bout My HR Function

This entry is a little more work-related than usual and specifically related to my line of work. For those of you that don’t know, I work within the HR space, and develop selection assessments for a variety of clients and positions, but mostly within the hospitality/restaurant space. Typically, the background required for this type of job is industrial organizational psychology. That background isn’t the easiest to explain, so I usually say it’s a “fancy HR with stats.” The reason that this entry is made is that I wanted to clear up some of the negativity surrounding this arena. It isn’t completely perfect; however, it is NOT mostly negative.

Many people really dislike my line of work as they don’t believe assessments or personality assessments have any real merit on predicting if an individual will be a good fit for the job. I’m one of those people that will not get upset if your opinion differs from mine, but I feel as if I should shed some light on this area of HR and why I think it DOES work. 

I think many people operate under the misconception that psychologists and psychologically based tests are there to judge individuals as being “good” or “bad.” They imagine a psychologist in a white coat with crazy hair overanalyzing every little detail and judging certain things as “abnormal.” Just as an FYI, people aren’t ever seen as abnormal and psychologists are hardly normal. The only edge I really get from being privy to the information from personality tests, etc.  is that I know a lot about myself and what my tendencies are. I’m hardly normal and hardly perfect. What people don’t understand (and how could they, unless they work in the industry), is that in my position, we are trying to balance giving a job to a deserving person, and selecting the best candidate from the perspective of the client/organization.

Honestly, from my perspective, I WANT you to get the job! I do, however, need to recommend the candidates that I think will be the best fit for my client. By fit, I mean, has a personality that will thrive in that work environment, be able to do the job minimally and that in turn will result in outcomes such as retention and job satisfaction. Have you ever been in a job where you hate your coworkers, are forced to work in conditions that aren’t ideal for your productivity and have trouble really believing and acting in accordance with the company mission? I definitely have and it’s HORRIBLE. While I may have very much needed a job and income, I was miserable and that was resulting in adverse effects; effects on the organization and on me as the individual. Miserable employees do not represent the organization well, in any situation, and having a miserable job really does affect a lot of facets of one’s life. 

Assessments as well as other NEEDED aspects of the selection process (interviews, realistic job previews, etc.) can and do regularly predict success within a job and an organization. These types of things aren’t (or at least should not be) pulled at random and developed “willy-nilly.” There is quite a bit of scientific and statistical rigor that goes into these types of things (I won’t bore you with details). The basics of it are that these types of things are developed having actual indicators of good performance, retention, job satisfaction, etc. in hand and are linked to them statistically to best predict those outcomes. 

I got into this field because I wanted to help people. I think we spend a lot of our time and energy at work, and while it can’t be fun all the time, it does not have to be miserable.  I also want it to be clear that these tests are not the be-all-end-all of the selection process. They are one component of it. In stats, we are taught that the more data points you can get on something, the more accurate the overall picture is. So, the more times that we can measure something from a job-seeker, the more likely our view will be an accurate, overall picture. 

FYI this is a pic of my work team who do the same thing I do. And yes, we are playing Whirlyball!! 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Spreading Your Wings

As always, one of my goals in this blog is to help young professionals either avoid pitfalls or give advice that will make things a little easier for them. This entry is more about that aspect of this blog. One of the things that wasn’t completely obvious to me when entering the workplace was that I have to do a lot of legwork OUTSIDE of my job and company in order to even begin becoming a leader in my profession and industry. That isn’t always easy to do, as many companies do not see the value in sending younger or less experienced employees to professional conferences or events. That’s where the work falls onto you.

I have a few pieces of advice on how to do this that doesn’t require backing from your company, but it is important that you make it clear to your boss or the decision makers that being considered to attend certain events is important to you and that it will add value to the organization. One way to do this is to create business cases for why you should attend something. For example, I wanted to attend a conference that was not well known within my company so I wrote up a simple 5 paragraph type-essay making points of how the attendance would help the company and my personal development. Also, don’t give up if your company doesn’t agree with your business case or cases at first. Keep trying! It will result in something good! At the very least, your superiors will see your initiative and business mindedness. 

Another piece of advice is to find out if there are professional clubs or groups within your area. Find out when they meet, what they typically discuss, etc. In addition to keeping up with the current trends, the people that attend these types of meetings are integral to get to know. I’ve found that many of the people that I meet at these types of things are the most influential in my career, decision making and my biggest champions. Also, be sure to not pigeon-hole yourself into just one type of professional group. For example, I’m a member of my local Industrial Organizational Psychology group, a local Social Media group, a Human Resources group, a Women’s Leadership group, a generic young professionals group and a group that focuses on restaurant industry trends. While I don’t necessarily touch on all of this in my current role, it will be important for me to know as I navigate upward in my company and industry. 

The last piece of advice I have is to really develop your “personal brand.” Many marketing professionals talk about this all the time, but it isn’t the easiest thing to know how to do. Basically a personal brand is what you want other professionals or individuals to think about you when they see your name or picture. So, as Belinda Smith, I want people to think of Human Resources, Social Media, Digital Marketing, a leader and an all around fun person. Nowadays, it’s much easier to develop these brands. You can utilize social media and blogging to do this. The articles and blogs that I post on Twitter are in line with my personal brand. I also want to make it clear that your personal brand does not need to be “flat” and only business –related.  I want people to see me as who I am, which is a very complex and dynamic person. I have a lot of professional interests, but I want to share my personal interests as well. I love dancing, cheerleading, painting, NFL and college football and cooking! I want people to see me as a person and not just an expert on a few things. I think that helps to differentiate yourself from other professionals in your area even more than just being the best at it.

In other news: I’m thinking of starting a video blog in conjunction with this page! Let me know what you think and what things you want to SEE me talk about!