Volume I Number 3 Summer 2020
SOME EMPLOYEES BEGIN TO RETURN TO WORK WHILE OTHERS SEEK NEW OPPORTUNITIES
HOW HARD IS IT GOING TO BE TO FIND A NEW JOB IN THIS MARKET?
by Tony Beshara
I’ve been finding people jobs since 1973. I’ve personally placed more than 11,000 candidates on a one-on-one basis in professional jobs. I began in this profession when our phones were black with a dial … before faxes and computers. This is my seventh economic recession and every one of them has been different and very difficult.
Of all of the recessions that I have experienced, I suspect that this one is going to be the easiest. Don’t get me wrong, none of them are really easy, especially if you’re looking for a job. But this one has been caused by one, even though dreadful, still just one major worldwide event…the COVID-19 virus. My sense is that once we sort through all of its ups and downs and, primarily, get a vaccine, our economy is going to get back on track. Previous recessions, like the ones in 1986, the dot bomb recession, the one culminating with 9/11 and the one in 2008, were all created by a number of converging issues. Now, it is true, that this present pandemic has had a “domino” effect on many other factors in the economy. However, once the source is brought under control, the economy will come back. But my sense is that it will take at least 18 months to two years to bounce back.
If you are looking for a job full-time or are looking for one while trying to keep the one you have, there are a few things you have to be more aware of than you ever have:
Doubt, Uncertainty and Fear
All hiring authorities are operating under a cloud of doubt and uncertainty and fear. They are downright scared. For the past few years, employers have been hiring because of positive growth, expansion and a great growing economy that appeared to be “can’t miss” regarding success. Most companies and the people who run them always thinks that way when the economy is expanding: It will last forever. They think it’s because of their dazzling business acumen and don’t give enough credit to the fact that the economy is expanding and they just happened to catch it at the right time.
When times like these come along, however, they are scared to death. Their business is down, they have to lay people off, many have to worry about survival and, the major issue is they have no idea when it’s going to end. So, they are just playing scared.
When scared people go to hire anybody, from the CEO to the janitorial staff, they are overcome with the fear that who they hire won’t be the right person, and may wind up being a mistake. Let’s face it, when anyone does anything with fear in the back of their mind, they have an extremely difficult time doing it. When times are good and companies are making money, their attitude is “well, I’m so good, we’re making money and even if I make a mistake hiring, I can fire that person and just find another one. After all, we’re doing extremely well.” But doubt, uncertainty and fear change that whole mindset.
For every candidate they interview, they are thinking just as much about how they won’t work out as much as how they might work out well. They are afraid of making a wrong decision. They try to interview too many candidates. They look for Mr. or Ms. Perfect and they often postpone making a decision until they absolutely have to. And, often times, won’t make one at all.
What This Means to a Job Seeker
First of all, it means that you’re going to get fewer interviews than you ever thought. It’s going to be harder than you ever imagined to even get an interview. There are going to be fewer opportunities because companies, for the most part, aren’t expanding. They are “maintaining” by hiring only when they absolutely have to.
This means that when a job seeker even gets an interview, they are going to have to perform better on that interview than they ever imagined. If a person has been laid off or is out of work, it means that they may have to interview and settle for a job that isn’t their perfect career move.
Looking for a job hasn’t been this difficult since 2008. The job seeker needs to be prepared for a phenomenal challenge.
Tony Beshara is the owner and president of Babich & Associates, established in 1952 and the oldest placement and recruitment service in Texas. He has been a professional recruiter since 1973 and has personally found jobs for more than 11,000 individuals. Tony is one of the most successful placement and recruitment professionals in the United States. He received
his Ph.D. in Higher Education from St. Louis University in 1973. He is also a best-selling author, TED Talk speaker, and frequent guest on The Dr. Phil Show.
BALANCING CHILD-CARE AND EMPLOYEE LIFE DURING A PANDEMIC
by Danielle Oliver
Listing off the number of issues that stems from the current COVID-19 pandemic seems virtually impossible. The obvious health and safety concerns caused drastic economic shut-downs. As businesses closed across the country throughout March, the child-care industry took one of the hardest hits. According to a recent survey from the National Association for the Education of Young Children, nearly half of nationwide child-care providers temporarily closed as a result of the pandemic. This immediately presented a brand new challenge for many parents.
A New Balancing Act
As employees began their transition into remote work, they also accepted new roles as teachers, babysitters, and housekeepers. A survey from Boston Consulting Group found that 60% of parents said they had no outside child-care during the worst peak of the coronavirus pandemic. Matt Krentz, managing director and partner of BCG, described this challenge as essentially accepting another full-time job. The stresses associated with these newly acquired responsibilities led 57% of parents to report that this balancing act was more than they could handle, according to a TD Ameritrade survey.
The lack of child-care availability and full-time work-from-home created mental stress, lack of sleep, and disrupted work productivity. It was a drastic adjustment for many. Meanwhile, essential workers struggled finding care for their children. Stephanie Ortega, director of ABC Little School in Los Angeles, remained open to offer child-care throughout this time. “I have parents that are upset that I’m open, and I have parents that are in need of me being open,” she explained. Anyone who has seen children interact knows that social distancing is virtually impossible. This risky and difficult balance put the teachers, students, and their families at risk, but was necessary to assist the essential workers at the time.
The Problem is Nothing New
Difficulties with child-care existed long before the pandemic. Tim Allen, CEO of Care.com, explained, “We were in a child-care crisis pre-COVID.” Parents struggled finding quality, affordable child-care providers that offered flexible schedules. As the focus now shifts towards boosting the economy and returning to physical business, employers should certainly consider their employees’ child-care needs. A 2019 report from the Council for a Strong America found that during a typical year, employers lose nearly $13 billion in potential earnings and revenues as a direct result of inadequate child-care offerings. This partially results from the fact that, pre-COVID, only 4% of employers offered a subsidized child-care center or program for employees, according to a 2019 Employee Benefits survey from the Society of Human Resource Management.
As businesses plan their reopening, child-care must be a factor in their decisions. Schools may not reopen for full-time in-person learning in the fall. Many daycares and preschools are also at risk of permanently closing due to losses from the shut down, which could potentially cause a decrease of 4.5 million child-care slots to disappear, according to the Center for American Progress. Therefore, employers must be ready to provide additional child-care options for their employees.
Considerations for Employers
Some companies, such as Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, are considering expanding their leave policies to help parents who are impacted by school and daycare closures. Extended leave policies are also becoming an excellent recruiting tool for companies, as they are likely most applicable to the general workforce. Other companies are becoming creative, and are working with child-care programs to offer innovative and safe solutions. A new company, Flexable, now offers a “Virtual MiniCamp,” which provides 30 minute to 1-hour interactive video chats for young children. Though short in time, these offerings can occupy the children while parents focus on important work from home. Companies are also now partnering with Care.com’s employee benefits division, Care@Work. This service offers employees flexible at-home child-care, such as sitters and nannies. This push for at-home child-care is becoming more popular as an employee benefit. It reduces the risk of coronavirus spread, as it limits social interactions compared to a typical daycare or school. It is also advantageous for the employer, as it limits the employer’s liability of on-site child-care in the workplace.
Solutions Depend on the Circumstances
Of course, child-care offerings will vary greatly from company to company. However, it is a drastic consideration of employees and employers as more physical workplaces reopen across the country. The most important aspect will be the cooperation between the employers and employees as individual companies negotiate their options for child-care. Health, safety, and economic feasibility will play the largest roles in determining the best options for child-care.
Danielle Oliver is Assistant to the Executive Director for The Pennington HR Institute and Managing Editor of Employee's Life. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the Arcadia University School of Global Business. where she demonstrates academic excellence and holds numerous leadership positions in the University's
Student Government. Danielle is passionate about ensuring positive employee relations and bettering organizations through innovative human resource initiatives.
from the Managing Editor
At the Pennington HR Institute, our main focus is you, the employee. We are focused on building a community for education and empowerment through our resources. This online magazine has been our next endeavor in achieving that goal. We are here to offer you insights, information, research, and opinions from nationwide experts.
We are dedicated to bringing you the most up-to-date content on all things related to employees. It is a difficult time for everyone, as we continue to fight the pandemic and accompanying economic crisis.
As many businesses nationwide begin to reopen their doors, we hope you are remaining safe and healthy. Your wellbeing should remain the priority of all reopening decisions, as businesses would not function without the employees. Balancing public health and the economy has been one of the largest conflicts. It has created countless problems for employees, employers, students, and everyone in between. There appears to be no single answer that solves all of these, only compromise and negotiation between everyone involved.
This edition of Employee’s Life focuses on these issues, and much more. While balancing these difficulties and consistently adjusting to new work environments, we know everything is challenging. Despite this, we hope you and your family are finding time to enjoy the summer season. Remember to stay safe and stay healthy!
THE BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS AT WORK
Studies find that mindfulness training increases confidence, intelligence, and focus at work, leading to greater well-being.
by Jeremy Adam Smith
Research says mindfulness works for individuals. But does it work in the bottom-line-driven workplace, or is it just a frivolous feel-good program?
This is the question tackled in a growing number of studies. Here are three benefits to mindfulness on the job.
1. Mindfulness can build self-confidence in leaders
A.D. Amar and colleagues at the University of Westminster measured the self-perception of leadership skills among a sample of senior managers in the London area—and then put them through a 12-week secular meditation-training program.
Their results, published in the Academy of Management Proceedings, revealed that training significantly enhanced their overall self-confidence, as well as the individual skills like inspiring a shared vision and demonstrating moral intelligence.
“However,” conclude the authors, “meditation did not statistically significantly enhance participants’ skills as a role model and enabling others to act”—areas that will need more study in the future.
2. Mindfulness can help us withstand controlling bosses
The more mindful the supervisor, the lower their employees’ emotional exhaustion and the higher their job satisfaction, according to research published in the journal Mindfulness. But that study also revealed a caveat: When basic psychological needs like feelings of autonomy and connection with other people aren’t being met, the employee can lose the benefits of having a mindful supervisor.
A separate study builds those findings by specifically exploring the link between mindfulness and autonomy. The researchers recruited 259 participants, assessing them for their mindful traits—like the ability to pay attention for long periods of time—and exploring how much autonomy they felt like they had on the job (as opposed to facing a more controlling managerial style).
Echoing that previous study, the researchers found that both autonomy and mindfulness “had direct relations with employee work well-being.” Feeling less-empowered at work was associated with a lower level of health and happiness. These indirect effects, found the researchers, were moderated by mindfulness—meaning that more mindful people were less likely to feel frustration, even when supervisors squashed their independence.
More mindful people were less likely to feel frustration, even when supervisors squashed their independence.
“Mindfulness thus appears to act as a protective factor in controlling work environments,” conclude the researchers.
3. Mindfulness can enhance overall well-being
If mindfulness works in the office, then what’s the best way to deliver the training?
A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine sought to determine whether an online mindfulness program created for a specific workplace, the Dow Chemical Company, could cut stress while enhancing the resiliency and well-being of employees.
Eighty-nine participants completed scientific scales designed to measure their degree of stress, mindfulness, resiliency, and vigor. They were then divided into two groups—one to take the online class and one to sit on the wait list.
After the first group finished, the researchers came six months later to see how everyone was doing. They found that, in fact, the group that took the class was doing a lot better—they were less stressed, more resilient, and more energetic than the group that couldn’t yet take the class.
“This online mindfulness intervention seems to be both practical and effective in… enhancing overall employee well-being,” conclude the researchers.
Jeremy Adam Smith is the editor of Greater Good magazine, which is published by the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center. He is also the author or co-editor of five books, founding editor of Shareable.net, and an investigative journalist and essayist whose work focuses on education, family, and community life. Before
becoming a full-time writer and editor, Smith launched the Independent Press Development Fund and served as publisher of Dollars and Sense magazine. In 2010-11, Smith was a John S. Knight journalism fellow at Stanford University.
IF JOB INSECURITY IS THE NEW NORMAL, HERE'S HOW TO MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU
by Anne Fisher
The Japanese have a phrase for it: playing ball on running water. It means staying nimble enough to win—and even have some fun—when the playing field under your feet is constantly shifting.
Does this sound familiar to your career?
“With technology advancing every minute, and buying habits changing on a dime, things have never been more uncertain, or the challenges greater,” says Robin Fisher Roffer, author of Your No Fear Career.
Intended to help readers “manage the chaos one step at a time, with elegance and grace,” Your No-Fear Career zeroes in on dealing with rapid change and uncertainty, including how to turn upheaval into an advantage, how to use your intuition to pick your next career move, and how to recognize what makes you unique—and make sure others see it, too.
“What I’ve found is that, from C-suite executives to the folks who answer their emails, no one is immune to fear,” Roffer says.
As the CEO of brand-strategy consulting powerhouse Big Fish Marketing, Roffer has launched or revamped more than a dozen household names in media, including A&E, Comedy Central, Food Network, and Sony Pictures. Monster recently spoke with Roffer about how you can move forward amid constant change.
Q. In Your No-Fear Career, you describe specific steps for dealing with career anxiety. Which is the hardest for most people?
A. By far, the most difficult is the first step, which is accepting the way things are. Our instinctive response to fear is “fight or flight,” so acceptance is hard because it requires us to do neither of these! But by not reacting right away when we’re faced with uncertainty, we can hear what our intuition is telling us. Before making a decision, it often helps to follow the old-fashioned advice to sleep on it.
Part of this is recognizing the things you can’t control or change. In my own career, I’ve had to walk away from jobs, clients, and business ideas that simply weren’t working out. Accepting that a certain project or business relationship is going nowhere is a sign of progress, not failure. (more)