New Manager Struggles

New Manager Struggles

Envision this. You’re an “A” player at your company. You exceed quota month after month, quarter after quarter, year after year. You’re the safe bet for any project and well recognized throughout the company. You’re the ambitious type, so OF COURSE, you’ve expressed that you aspire to keep growing in the company, however possible. FINALLY, there’s a management position open and you’ve been told that this is the best opportunity to grow in the company!!! You’re getting a big raise too! Oh, the excitement! But wait… “I’ve never managed before, how do I do this?” But, leadership has always relied on you to be the “independent, self-motivated” type, and certainly weren’t expecting to have to spend a lot of time with you. FIGURE IT OUT!

People, this is a common scenario. Suddenly, this “A” player is thrown into an entirely new world of challenges that come with management. This person is now one of the most important people in his employee’s lives, and he’s charged with being their coach, leader, mentor, and director. WOW, no stress, right?! Even more, the success of the employees under this new manager largely hinges on their ability to create and communicate clear objectives, while still being attentive to the ‘human element.’ Of course, we would want to arm this person with all of the skills needed to be the best manager they can be, and continue to be that “A” player in their new role?? Nope, so many companies don’t see this as necessary. Their leaders never got trained on this stuff and ‘are doing just fine,’ so why make an unnecessary investment to give this person the requisite skills to be great at their job. The grim reality is times are often not as smooth sailing for these kinds of leaders as they might lead you to believe. They frequently do WAY more hand-holding than they’d like, along with many other challenges they face which might have been avoided if they got the appropriate training themselves.

Let’s take a deeper look at this. Imagine the stress this new manager has. They were always the Rockstar of the group and now maybe they’re struggling to get their employees to do what they need to hit quota month after month, quarter after quarter (and sometimes year after year). They try a lot of approaches to motivate their employees and drive results, but nothing’s working. Now they’re stressed, their employees are floundering OR LEAVING, and the leadership is extremely disappointed and stressed (They’re “A” player is no longer an “A” player). Remember though, this new manager wants to do a great job. They are self-motivated and reliable. They just need to get a strong understanding of what they need to do to be successful.

Would you want a pilot driving your plane without any formal training? I sure wouldn’t. Their ability to fly and land that plane successfully affects a lot of people. Managers are REALLY important to a lot of people as well. Although, usually nobody is going to die if managers do a bad job! They’re just going to disengage and be emotionally drained.

Moral of the story. As leaders, invest the time and resources to make your managers great. Give them the training they need. You’re making sure your software developers, financial analysts, etc., are getting trained right? How could they ever do a great job if they never got the training? Different skills for sure, but managers need the investment as well. AND managers, invest in yourselves to be great!


-Drew Bonder

Family Friendly Work Places Help Keep Your Best Employees

Family Friendly Work Places Help Keep Your Best Employees

By Shana Gerson, PHR

As a Career Coach, I work with too many people who aren’t happy at their jobs. From CEO’s to barista’s the reasons vary, but the vast majority of my clients want a family friendly work place that has compassion and will allow them the flexibility to take care of their family.

”80% of employees’ say their greatest source of stress is not spending as much time at home.”
Source: ”Paychex”

More People are Balancing Work and a Hectic Family Life

The world has changed and many of us work full-time without the support of a close, extended family. We try to juggle work demands while caring for a toddler that needs constant attention, the teenager that keeps getting into trouble, and an aging parent that is sick or elderly. Nearly all of us knows how it feels when we’re working late to get a project done and worrying about getting out the door to pick up our kids, or worse, getting a call from school that our child is sick right before a big presentation. Sounds exhausting just talking about it!

Do Employees with Families want to Work for You?

More and more employees are looking for family friendly work environments where they can do the work they love without having to constantly juggle their family commitments. With the extremely low unemployment rates in Boulder and Denver, this should make you stop and think about what your company is offering potential talent. You need to be the employer of choice; gone are the days where people have to convince you to hire them, you also need to convince employees why they should work for you.

Create a Family Friendly Work Place

The first step is to create a flexible environment where employees don’t punch a time clock. You might think it’s hard to create flexibility but we have found it is relatively easy in most environments, you just have to commit to making it happen. Developing core hours where all employees need to be in the office between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM is one way to set this up. Allowing people to work from home one or two days a week can relieve family pressures and increase productivity. These minor changes empower employees to take control of their schedules so they can be there for their families when they need them.

Better Employees equals Better Engagement

You’ll find your employees will work harder and be more engaged at work if they are able to devote the needed time to their families and personal life. Creating part-time job share roles has often allowed companies to hire two more qualified candidates that are able to split a position up into morning and afternoon because they would have been unable to accept full-time positions. Finding ways to help your employees to do their jobs with less outside stress, will make them better employees and more engaged.

Really Listen to what Your Teams are Saying

Another way to foster a family friendly environment is to create an environment where employees can come to you to discuss their family needs and be available to work with them to meet these needs. Obviously not every need can be accommodated, but having an open-door policy that allows every employee to come to you, discuss their needs, and know you will try to support them goes a long way. If someone needs to arrive 15 minutes later and stay 15 minutes later at night to meet obligations, you need to find a way to make it happen. Offer light snacks or food in the break-room for people who have heavy family commitments to make their day easier. Incidentally, this makes your single and younger employees happy as well!

If you can’t meet the immediate needs of an employee, talk to them about other options that may work better for your both. Employees tend to look elsewhere if they feel like they aren’t being heard and their needs are not being met. Which means you could easily lose some of your best people. If they don’t look elsewhere, there is a good chance that they won’t be engaged in what they are doing because they are worried about home life or feel undervalued. This quickly can result in lowered production, increased errors, and low morale company wide.

It’s Up to You

Every organization and industry can create family friendly practices and policies. Once you incorporate this culture into your workforce, you’ll see a boost in productivity because employees will have the opportunity to connect with their families and work. In addition, your teams will become advocates for your company or organization and tell others why they love working there. If you look around at some of the most successful companies today you will realize that nearly all of them, have some form of family friendly programs in place. It’s time you do too.

For more information on how you can create a family friendly environment click here to schedule a free call or meeting.

New Manager Struggles

The 5 Why’s of Hiring

Ah yes, hiring managers. How do you keep that competitive edge when hiring??? You’re going to hire someone to solve your problem, while maintaining the integrity of your brand.

BUT, before you pull the trigger and “go to market” to find that person to solve that problem. Ask yourselves the 5 why’s (and how) first:

1) Who? – Who are we as a collective group, the values that we share?

This determines who will align culturally.

2) What? – What specific tasks / behaviors will this person be performing?

This provides clear direction on both the skills this person will need to have, as well as how to manage, evaluate, and develop the new employee.

3) When? – When do you TRULY need this person by? And how much time will it take for this person to TRULY be productive (be realistic)?

Timing is important and this will help determine when you’re really ready for this person as well as level expectations with the timeline for on-boarding the new employee.

4) Why? – Why do you need really need this person? This will help avoid impulsive decisions, often unnecessary.

This is a highly analytical step.

5) Where? – Where does the position NEED to be (location)? Is there flexibility (remote possibilities, etc.)?

Where are you willing to recruit from and why? Lifestyle fit is incredibly important. People have lives outside of work and different ways they work, and logistics matter.

6) How? – What is your advertising, interviewing, and on-boarding strategy?

How will managers get the best out of their new hires? Have a plan!!!

To be clear, this is not everything to consider, but it’s at least a good start. If you hire without appropriate preparation, or just to offload work quickly, a lot of pain and wasted time is likely in your future.


-Drew Bonder

Dress to Impress for your Interview

Dress to Impress for your Interview

By Carrie S Ahmad, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

You’ve landed the on-site interview, now the big question…what to wear?  In today’s casual work environments, it can be tough to know how you should dress for the interview.  Too often I hear from clients that candidates show up for an interview in the proverbial “what not to wear” attire; and from the start the candidate has made a bad impression from which it is tough to recover.  You can be the ideal candidate, but if you miss the target in how you dress and groom for the interview, the role that was yours for the taking has quickly slipped away.

Common Sense and Culture

About 6 months ago I had a candidate show up for an interview in jeans and a sweatshirt.  He read the company culture accurately – most of the staff wore very casual clothes to work; however, he misread the message he would be sending about himself by showing up for the interview this way.  He interviewed with six people (managers and peers), and all six were astounded by how he dressed.  They felt he showed a lack of confidence and a lack of interest in the company.  Needless to say, he didn’t get the job.  Even if a company’s culture is laid back (jeans and t-shirts), employers will be impressed when you make an effort to show respect for the interview process by dressing nicely for the interview.

What Should You Wear?

So, how do you avoid this interview faux pas?  Research, ask, and when in doubt dress “up.”

  1. Research:  Check out the company’s website.  If there are employee photos, consider how the employees are dressed.  Look company employees up on LinkedIn.  How are they dressed in their profile photo?
  2. Ask: When the recruiter, HR Manager or Hiring Manager calls you to schedule the interview, ask the person: “What is your company’s culture as it relates to attire?  Do you have recommendations for what I should wear?”
  3. Dress “Up”:  When you just aren’t sure, always dress up more than you think you should.

Simple Tips for Looking Great at Your Interview

Here are my suggestions for preparing for the interview as it relates to dress & grooming:

  1. Dress one step up:
    a.  If the culture is very casual: men should wear slacks and a nice polo or button down shirt; women should wear slacks/skirt with a nice sweater or top.
    b.  If the culture is business casual: dress professionally – dress slacks with button down shirt & tie for men; dress, skirt or dress slacks and a nice blouse/sweater for women.
    c.  If the culture is business professional: wear a suit.
  2. Shower the morning of the interview and take time to ensure your hair looks groomed.
  3. Go easy (or not at all) on colognes and perfumes.

Remember, in an interview you should dress to impress!

What’s the Point of a Cover Letter?

What’s the Point of a Cover Letter?

By Kimberly Spikes

I get asked a lot about whether a cover letter is still important in today’s world of work. The short answer (as with many things job-search related), is, it depends. The key determining factor in whether or not you should carefully craft a cover letter is to look at whether the company is actually asking for one or not. If a company isn’t mentioning a cover letter, or they make it optional as an inclusion with your resume, then either don’t include one or at least don’t spend a lot of time on it. Just fill in the company and job-specific elements of a cover letter you’ve used in the past.

BUT! If the company you’re applying to does require a cover letter, then it’s worth taking the time to go beyond simply filling in the company’s details, and write a customized message to them. If the company requires a cover letter, then they are likely using the cover letter as a key element in their initial screening process — or, in other words, it’s far more likely someone actually will read it!

So, what do I mean when I say, write a customized message to the company? Well, the cover letter is a great opportunity to go beyond your resume in providing another voice and further insight into who you are and how you align to the organization — not only with your skills and experience, but also in terms of your values alignment and your passions.

Read the company’s pages around “Careers,” “About Us,” “Our Team,” etc. How do they talk about themselves — who they are, who their audience is, and what they believe in. What do they prioritize? How do they describe their culture? How do they talk about their customer/user/guest, etc.? If the company calls their HR folks their People team, then address the letter accordingly using the same nomenclature (of course, that’s assuming you aren’t able to identify the hiring manager directly).

Your resume is the most important place to talk about your skills and experience; the cover letter is where you can highlight the most relevant skills and experience for their job posting, but it’s also where you need to tell your story to the company about how else you match up with what they’re looking for to add to their culture. Love their mission statement? Mention it in the opening paragraph as the reason you’re excited to apply! Can’t get enough of their products? The cover letter is where you let them know.

And, while it’s important to keep an overall tone of professionalism in the cover letter, this is also where you can show off a bit more of your personality than in the resume. As you review the company’s pages as described above, jot down keywords or even emotions that come to mind for you – then weave language into your cover letter that matches that tone.

Got a question on resume writing, cover letters, or job searching? Let us know! We live and breathe this stuff every day, and we’d love to partner with you!

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