What’s Your Personal Brand?

Same Old Brand New You
Same Old Brand New You (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gone are the days of thinking of a personal brand as something only to do with marketing a product.  Today, we all are building our ‘personal brand’, whether we know (or like) it or not.

Careers — By Chris Saffer on August 15, 2012 9:15 am writes:

“With branding, you promote yourself to attract even more opportunities to talk about yourself to others. You find opportunities to tell your story, give your pitch, and let people see what makes you special. The two things that you will need to be especially passionate about are who you are and the work you do.

Developing your brand and standing apart from the crowd is critical in this changing employment environment where technical workers are often more knowledgeable about their field than their CEOs or leaders are. It is therefore important that you discover ways to define the key value that you bring to corporations and to develop strategies to communicate this value personally both within and across organizations to manage your brand effectively over time.

Defining your brand. Defining your brand is the first step in developing a sales and marketing plan for your defining qualities.

This sales experience prepares you for life as a professional, during which you must sell your value, such as gaining entrance to a good school or college, acquiring the position that you desire, or getting a good deal on a house or car. Once you get past the fear of selling, you will be able to focus on your strengths, communicate your value, and sell your brand to the world. The key to being effective in any role is the ability to influence how others perceive you.”

How/what are you doing to build your ‘personal brand’?

The HRmeister

Lunch Break – To Have or Have Not

lunch-2007-04-03a (Photo credit: flakyredhead)

Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer | LiveScience.com – Mon, Aug 13, 2012, writes:

“When’s the last time you left your desk and took a real lunch break?

For many workers, the answer is “not recently,” a trend driven by a bad economy and high workplace expectations, researchers say. A recent McDonald’s ad campaign even took advantage of lunch break dissatisfaction with a series of commercials telling workers, “It’s your lunch. Take it.”

Although there are no national statistics on lunch breaks, small-scale surveys find that up to two-thirds of workers skip lunch or eat lunch at their desks.

Lost lunch breaks

Skipped lunch breaks are a growing trend, said Danielle Hartmann, the director for corporate partnerships at Boston College’s Center for Work & Family.

“I think the expectation is that more people are expected to work more with less,” Hartmann told LiveScience. “Workloads have been exceptionally high and people don’t feel like they can take the time to eat.” [7 Perfect Survival Foods]

A survey by CareerBuilder released in 2010 found that 18 percent of workers report always eating at their desks and 16 percent said they skipped lunch in favor of work. A third of employees surveyed said that they did take lunch, but spent less than 30 minutes eating. Likewise, a 2011 online survey by workplace consulting group Right Management found that 34 percent of North American workers said they ate at their desks, and 31 percent said they occasionally, rarely or never took lunch.

“Many of the organizations have been downsized, and as a result, folks have significantly more responsibility,” said Ron Sims, a vice president at Right Management. “They don’t want to be seen as somebody who is not fully contributing.”

Benefits of breaks

Research on call-center workers and software developers, two very different job types, has found benefits to taking breaks throughout the day, Rothbard said. What you do on these breaks mattered, she added. Anything replenishing, such as relaxing or socializing (if enjoyable), tends to lend people renewed vigor for the post-break stretch. Running around trying to cram in extra errands or chores, on the other hand, does little for afternoon productivity. [7 Things That Will Make You Happy]

The benefits of breaks range from ergonomic (getting out of your chair occasionally is good for the body) to professional (chatting with co-workers at lunch can spark new camaraderie and collaborations), Boston College’s Hartmann said.

Taking back lunch

There are no federal requirements for lunch breaks, though many states have laws that require meal breaks for hourly workers. Many salaried employees are not covered by these laws.

Nevertheless, some companies are seeing the benefit of encouraging lunch breaks, Hartmann said. She works with several companies that have started encouraging employees to hit the dining hall or the fitness center during lunch hour as a way to promote health and creativity.

The HRmeister: Do you take a lunch break?  Why or why not?  Do you see any ties to the level of engagement of your employees with regard to whether or not they take a lunch break?


Job Fairs- What’s Your ROI Been?


Today, I had the opportunity to participate in a local job fair, hosted by our area’s two US congressmen.  Turnout was unbelievable, even though our local unemployment is better than the national average, but you’d never know it by the size of this crowd.

Question: How successful have you been with hiring from a job fair?  Typically, attendees canvass the room, hoping to identify a few employers who will offer an opportunity that peaks their interest.

Whether you take a resume or instruct them to apply online,  what’s the likelihood that an employer actually gives the resume/application more than a cursory look, let alone invite them to either a phone-based or in-person interview?

My experience is that one would need to collect a good deal (at least a 3 to 1 ratio) of resumes/applications of job fair-goers, and have them successfully pass a potential phone screen and any applicable assessment tests, before they would clear the hurdle of receiving the much coveted in-person interview.

Then, the applicant will need to clear the hurdle of at least one in-person interview before one could expect to receive a job offer – provided background and other pre-employment tests are passed.

Whew!  Isn’t it amazing anyone gets hired?  Yet, today, given our challenging economy, depending on how many job fair applicants we hire, it actually could prove to be a very cost-effective hiring method.

What do you think?

The HRmeister

Exit Interviews – To Have or Have Not


HR folks still question whether they should or shouldn’t conduct an exit interview when someone leaves their organization.  Proponents cite the information they gain from these exchanges help them identify and begin to address ‘opportunity areas’ in the organization, hopefully, increasing employee retention.  Detractors say that exiting employees don’t wish to burn bridges, and are not truthful as to the real (or all of the) reason(s) they are leaving, so it’s difficult to ‘fix’ the situation.

Whom should we believe? 

Some organizations ‘push’ an electronic exit interview questionnaire to the exiting employee.  The thinking here is that employees may be more inclined to answer the questions honestly, as there is no human exchange.  It also helps to increase the consistency of the information asked, retrieved, and analyzed.  Some organizations take it a step further, and attempt to telephone employees six months after they have left, hoping to obtain even more honest feedback.  Some do both of these or some variation(s) thereof.

Detractors of these approaches state that employees will still be ‘guarded’ with their answers, again, not wishing to burn any bridges, particularly in our current challenging economy.  Employees can ‘blow off’ answering an electronic exit questionnaire, perhaps more than they could an invitation to a ‘in person’ exit interview before they leave.  It’s also difficult to get former employees to be available to take or return phone calls once they have left the organization.

What do you think?  Is it worth it?

Good luck.

The HRmeister