Company Philanthropy: How Important Is It to Workers?

A press release from OfficeTeam touts that 42% of job seeks want to work for companies that give back to the community. I’m surprised the number isn’t higher.

Companies in the Best Places to Work in Indiana program often tout their giving programs and employees cite that caring nature.

Here are the details:

Workers were asked, “To what extent does a company’s participation in charitable activities influence your decision to work there?” The responses:

 

  • A great deal: 17%
  • Somewhat: 25%
  • Not at all: 56%
  • Don’t know: 2%

“Although not everyone cares about working for companies that give back to the community, the segment of the workforce that values corporate altruism can’t be ignored,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Philanthropy programs can be a selling point when recruiting candidates and also help improve employee retention. Organizations can increase team morale and participation in charitable activities by aligning with causes that resonate with staff.”

OfficeTeam identifies five ways to incorporate philanthropic activities into your company’s workplace:

1. Give back. Organize a clothing, toy or food drive that benefits a nonprofit organization.

2. Get involved. Provide the opportunity for employees to volunteer as a group at a soup kitchen or beach cleanup. This doubles as a great team-building activity.

3. Show your support. Sponsor, host or participate in a charity event such as an auction or 5K run.

4. Chip in. Donate to causes that matter most to employees, such as disaster-relief efforts or local schools.

5. Match it. Consider offering a matching-gifts program that supplements workers’ charitable contributions or activities.

Interviewing? Hear What Employers are Really Thinking

Dr. Charles Xavier must be really good at getting hired for employment, since he can read minds and everything. (That would be Professor X, from the X-Men comics, if you don’t recognize the name.)

He probably wouldn’t benefit from this latest advice from staffing service OfficeTeam. But, you might want to read further (unless you can also read minds, which I kind of doubt) about the five things that every job seeker should know about the interview from the employer’s point of view.

Coming to an interview prepared, having researched the company and being armed with a list of questions about the organization can be a big help. However, potential employees should also know these few things that employers aren’t saying out loud.

First, not all employers come as prepared to an interview as the interviewee. You should have a copy of your resume on hand in case the hiring manager doesn’t remember anything about you (especially if the person seems lost for questions to ask).

Another important thing to remember is that inauthentic responses to questions are a red flag. Take a cue from “The Office’s” Michael Scott: When asked his greatest strengths in an interview, he responds, “Why don’t I tell you what my greatest weaknesses are? I work too hard, I care too much and sometimes I can be too invested in my job.” The manager doesn’t even understand his response, as he asked for Scott’s greatest strengths. Scott had to explain that his greatest weaknesses are also his strengths. Funny, but not effective.

The interviewer also wants the chance to talk about themselves and the company. Remember that list of questions you’re armed with? Make sure to ask about the company, but also about the person hiring you and their experience with professional development and advancement within the company. Not only will you learn more about the organization, but it’ll help you get the conversation going.

Sometimes, interviewers will try to make you uncomfortable. They do this to see how you’ll handle pressure and because they know by allowing you to ramble on you’re bound to reveal more about who you are as a person. It’s also becoming a common practice to ask off-the-wall questions to see how you’ll react and evaluate your thought process. Keep your responses concise and to the point of the question; don’t feel the need to fill every empty pause and silence.

It’s also important to remember that the first person you’re likely to see upon arrival is the receptionist or an assistant. Be respectful of the person – more than likely the employer is planning to ask that person about your interaction. That person will potentially be your co-worker, so they’ll be honest of what they thought of you in their response to the manager.

Now you have a bit of insight into what hiring managers are thinking (and you don’t even have to read their minds). Keep these in mind next time you’re in the hot seat.
 

End of the Resumes (New Don Henley Song?)

An interesting take here from OfficeTeam about the future of the resume:

Is the traditional resume going the way of the dinosaur? Some human resources (HR) managers interviewed recently by OfficeTeam think so. More than one-third (36 percent) of respondents said it’s at least somewhat likely resumes will eventually be replaced by profiles on social and business networking sites.

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 500 HR managers at companies with 20 or more employees. 

HR managers were asked, “In your opinion, how likely is it that profiles on networking sites, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, will replace traditional resumes in the future?” Their responses:

  • Very likely – 8%
  • Somewhat likely – 28%
  • Not very likely – 42%
  • Not at all likely – 21%
  • Don’t know/no answer  – 1%                                                                                                                                        

OfficeTeam offers five tips for creating an impressive online profile:

  1. Get the picture. Make sure photos that are visible in your profiles and on social media sites are professional. Untag yourself or adjust your privacy settings to limit who can see certain images.
  2. Show your star qualities. Provide employers with a clear sense of your capabilities by posting information about your work history and highlighting key accomplishments on sites like LinkedIn. Sharing your personal interests and hobbies on Facebook also can help people relate to you more easily.
  3. Talk the talk. Incorporate key industry terms to describe your skills, specialties and positions of interest so hiring managers can more easily find you online.
  4. Make the right connections. Be selective about who you allow into your social networks because potential employers may contact these individuals for insights on you. Your contacts also could alert you to job openings.
  5. Keep it fresh. Regularly update your profile and be active professionally. Post useful advice or comment on articles on LinkedIn and industry forums.   

Overcoming Embarrassment at Work

So maybe your signature Larry King suspenders gave out and your pants fell down during an important meeting, or you "accidentally" punched your boss’ wife in the face during one of your trademark drunken flailing fits at the office Christmas party. But a recent survey from OfficeTeam says you’re not alone in committing an embarrassing act at work.

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than

1,300 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees in the United States and Canada. 

“Nearly everyone has had an embarrassing situation at work,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Although these moments can be awkward, it’s best not to dwell on them, or you risk drawing more negative attention to yourself.” 

Wardrobe malfunctions were a top cause of discomfort for survey respondents.  Following are some examples:

  • “I was late getting to the office and realized I wore my bathroom slippers to work.”
  • “I conducted a training session with my zipper down.”
  • “My skirt got stuck in my pantyhose.”
  • “I came to work with two different shoes on.”
  • “My trousers tore in front of my team members.”
  • “My shirt was on backward.”

Fortunately, OfficeTeam offers a few tips to help you deal with your predicament:

  • Remain calm. It’s easy to lose your nerves after a slipup, but try to keep your composure. Take a deep breath and collect yourself.  
  • Own up. Acknowledging a blunder before someone else does can alleviate any awkward tension that may arise. If appropriate, address the situation in a humorous way to make everyone feel more at ease. 
  • Make amends. If your accident affected another person, immediately apologize and take steps to ensure a similar mistake does not happen again.
  • Move on. Rather than dwell on a misstep, focus on getting back on track. The faster you recover, the less memorable the incident will be.

Give Your Coworkers a Break Room Break

Go to 100 different businesses, and I venture you would find that 99 have some type of break room disputes taking place. Maybe there are few surprises here in this OfficeTeam survey, but it at least confirms what many are experiencing.

Any horror stories to share? Favorites from the tip list below?

Forty-four percent of workers interviewed said making a mess for others to clean up is the most annoying break room behavior.

Workers were asked, “In your opinion, which of the following is the most annoying workplace break room behavior?” Their responses:

  • Making a mess for others to clean up – 44%
  • Stealing a coworker’s food – 19%
  • Leaving expired/spoiled food in the refrigerator – 18%
  • Eating smelly food – 5%
  • Nothing annoying/no break room – 7%
  • Other/don’t know – 7%

“Many people believe their actions in the break room go unnoticed, but subtle behaviors can send a message about an individual’s consideration for others,” said OfficeTeam executive director Robert Hosking. “Leaving messes in a common area will have colleagues wondering whether you’re just as careless in other aspects of the job.”

OfficeTeam offers five tips for minding your manners in the lunch room:

  • Remember what your mother told you. If you spill something in the microwave or on the counter, wipe it up. It’s also common courtesy to refill anything you’ve emptied in the kitchen, such as the coffee pot or napkin dispenser.
  • Spare the air. You may love the smell of your famous “seafood surprise,” but your neighbors might not share your enthusiasm. Avoid bringing extremely pungent foods to the office that could offend your colleagues’ olfactory senses.
  • Stake your claim. Label your food with your name and the date. This will ward off break room bandits and make it obvious when the item should be thrown away.
  • Get the hint. Schedule alerts on your calendar so you’ll remember to take home or toss out leftovers or groceries from the refrigerator. This will help free up storage space for coworkers.
  • Do a little dirty work. Clean up around the break room even if someone else created the mess. By simply picking up a piece of trash or wiping a table, you’ll set an example for others to follow and create a more pleasant and potentially safer environment for your colleagues. If you see an ongoing issue with break room etiquette, consider asking management to implement a staff policy or reinforce the rules of conduct.  

References Remain Critical in Hiring Practices

OfficeTeam released a statement touting the results of an employer survey that illustrates how references impact the hiring of candidates. See if this coincides with your own company’s practices. (Sometimes, as a joke, when my colleagues and friends use me for a reference, when their potential employers call, I like to answer with, "How did you get this number?," in a really accusatory and put-off tone. Screaming "Who dis is?!?!?" is also a lot of fun.)

A strong resume and interview may place job seekers in the running for a position, but a new survey from OfficeTeam finds the results of a reference check can be the real deal maker — or breaker. Managers interviewed said they remove more than one in five (21 percent) candidates from consideration after speaking to their professional contacts. When it comes to what hiring managers are looking for when speaking to references, more than a third (36 percent) said they are most interested in getting input on an applicant’s past job duties and experience. Learning about the individual’s strengths and weaknesses came in second, with 31 percent of the response.

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,000 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees. 

Managers were asked, “Approximately what percentage of job candidates do you remove from consideration for a position with your company after checking their references?” The average response was 21 percent. 

Managers also were asked, “When speaking to an applicant’s job references, what is the most important information you hope to receive?” Their responses:

  • Description of past job duties and experience – 36%
  • A view into the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses – 31%
  • Confirmation of job title and dates of employment – 11%
  • Description of workplace accomplishments – 8%
  • A sense of the applicant’s preferred work culture – 7%
  • Other/don’t know – 7%

“When hiring managers narrow the field to a few potential candidates, the reference check often becomes the deciding factor,” said OfficeTeam executive director Robert Hosking. “To distinguish themselves from the competition, job seekers should assemble a solid list of contacts who can persuasively communicate their qualifications and professional attributes.”