Who’s Watching Your Leadership’s Mental Fitness?

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Photo by Joseph Barrientos on Unsplash

By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR

Captains of Industry amass fortunes by increasing productivity, expanding markets, providing more jobs, despite navigating tumultuous waters. All the while, stoically stable. After all, they are ultimately responsible for their vessel, the crew, and safe navigation. However, when the ship’s captain teeters on instability, one misjudgment, and one navigational error can slam a cruise liner onto the rocks. I faced that sad reality on vacation. While combing the beach, I stumbled on a battered life ring.  Looking ahead, more maritime debris littered the sand. The resort staff let me know that was all that was left of the sunken ship El Faro.

Earlier this month, the Coast Guard said the primary cause of the sinking of a cargo ship two years ago that killed all 33 aboard was the captain misreading both the strength of a hurricane and his overestimation of the ship’s strength.  No bodies were ever recovered. It was the worst maritime disaster for a U.S.-flagged vessel since 1983.

Like any other business leader, if a Captain mismanages his duties, for sure the crew will increasingly panic and perhaps pay a heavy price.  Across all industries, a leader is appointed for a reason, and many times we may not all see the personal sacrifices made by these individuals.

They say that there are only two certain things in life: Death and Taxes. I would argue that there is a third. Life-altering personal life challenges. No exceptions, every single person on planet earth is subject to challenges, whether it is daily, seasonal or life-altering. A perfect storm of circumstances or grievous events such as an unexpected loss of a loved one, a bitter divorce, financial destruction, something will eventually come to pass that will challenge our relatively normal and logical mental state.

Employees benefit greatly from having supervisors or mentors that can identify when something is amiss. There is a multitude of indicators that even the “greenest” of a supervisor can usually identify. Whether it is attendance, work performance, personal presentation, or even more obvious indicators such suspected intoxication or illegal narcotic use. Once a problem is identified, support is usually quickly directed towards the employee in terms of a sympathetic ear, donation of resources, or referral to an Employee Assistance Program.

Here’s is a challenge. Who is watching the supervisors and who is watching your direct supervisor? In a perfect world, the individuals listed above would self-identify a problem and they would take appropriate steps to overcome whatever is affecting them. But you know as well as I do, we do not live in that perfect world. We live in the real world.

Human resource professionals are in a unique position to discern catch subtle clues in changed behavior in company leadership and both up and down the organizational ladder. Scheduling regular meetings with leaders in an organization addresses “organizational needs” and can be multi-purpose. One, it keeps the department proactive on required changes and two to keep a finger on the pulse of employee morale. If Human Resources regularly makes assessments, everyone in the organization is protected with one exception. Who is watching them? Especially those in a department of one. Fortunately, informal checks and partnering with the direct supervisor is a key advantage.  And a close relationship with a boss helps, allowing a free exchange of information in both directions. Luckily, who’s best informed about company benefits, perks, and resources. That wonderful lifeline – human resources.

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Active Shooter EOP: Do You Have One?

By Ret. Capt. Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR, EMT-P

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Ethan Miller / Getty Images

We are not in Kansas anymore. If you believe any statistics showing that criminal violence and hate crimes have declined significantly, I have land here in Florida I’d love to sell you. I’m not speculating as to why’s and wherefore’s, nor is my intent to start a rousing political and theological debate that might end with no real solution. Instead, this conversation examines how current world affairs spikes the risk to your employees, and how best to prepare and minimize loss.

Thirteen years ago, when I joined the Fire Service, EMT’s and Paramedics running into “active” shooter incidents weren’t a troubling trend. Due to the unanticipated rarity, our standard operating procedures at the time mandated we hold off on rescue operations until the violent crime scenes were first secured by law enforcement. Over the years, given the broadening peak in active shooter, mass shooting, and terrorist attacks, forced us to shift our policy. The Fire Service cross-trained with the local police departments and developed programs such as (Swift Assistance Victim Extrication) S.A.V.E. for short which allowed for EMS professionals to enter a scene while an active shooter/terrorist attack was still active.

Tonight watching the Las Vegas mass shooting disaster news alerts unfold, I saw Fire Service personnel dressed in tactical gear including bulletproof vests and ballistic helmets. This is becoming a new standard nationwide. Some of your Fire Personnel are now armed, cross-trained as Law Enforcement Officers, as well are some of the nation’s teachers and other municipal workers in high-risk professions. The trend is growing outside of government professions, even large religious institutions have either employed or recruited armed undercover security volunteers to protect their flock as well as their ministers.

As a member of a large non-denominational church and as a certified paramedic having relevant emergency medical services skills, I volunteered for their safety team. Moreover, an integral part of their internal response was having staff cross-trained to carry a concealed 9mm handgun. Our mandate was providing security prior to police arrival. I assure you, you would be surprised about the numbers of armed undercover security present in mega-church congregations.

Now, let’s transition to private industry. What preventative measures do you have in place? What standard operating procedures do you have? Private industry needs to stay current on trends, and bare minimum Human Resources should have a policy and a written action plan.

It doesn’t matter how you how you feel about gun ownership or how you feel about protecting second amendment rights. This conversation is not a weapons debate. What matters is having a plan should terrorists or active shooters threaten your workplace. It’s critical to prepare and train to respond appropriately. Your life and so many others may depend on it. Therefore, if you are a human resource professional charged with drafting policy, and struggling with that surreal moment of shock your company may one day, hopefully not, encounter an active shooter disaster, here are 5 tips to survive mass shootings.

1. Pre-emptive Measures:

In every situation, it is better to be proactive versus reactive. Think about your current security measures at your place of business. Visible security and/or security cameras systems function as deterrents from assailants.

2. Evacuation Plans/Protecting In Place

Do you have a rapid means of egress out of your place of business? Most organizations practice at least a quarterly fire drill and have a means of egress clearly identified. If you do not, put this policy in place now and let it serve as the primary means of evacuation in case of an active shooter scenario. You will also need alternative means of egresses as well in the event the primary means of egress is compromised. Have a plan and practice the plan. Protecting in place may also be a viable scenario if you have a room or rooms that are easily fortified. Consider a professional consultant if you are unsure or are not familiar with these terms.

3. Arming Personnel/Fighting Back

This is going to be a hot topic for many, let this only serve as a consideration. Anyone that is armed should have an adequate background check, licensure, and training. Utilization of armed personnel may conflict with existing policies, terms of a building lease, or government ordinances. Keep in mind that the arrival of police, fire, and ems will be at a minimum 5 – 10 minutes for the response. When the ability to flee and protection in place is unavailable, fighting for your life may be you and your employees only option.

4. Emergency Medical Supplies

Keep a cache of emergency medical equipment on site and consider having some personnel trained in basic first aid. There are many kits on the market available with reasonable pricing that is stocked with the primary items required for bleeding control. Six to 10 Minutes without blood to the brain due to a traumatic injury will most likely lead to death. Make no mistake about it, your employees will be the First Responders in an active shooter scenario.

5. Critical Incident Stress Debriefings

Have a relationship with a professional therapist, employee assistance provider, or properly train some employee that may perform critical incident stress debriefings post incident. The aftermath of a situation such as an active shooter scenario or terrorist attack will cause emotional scarring if left untreated. Your standard operating procedures should provide care and support to employees within 24 to 72 hours of an incident.

Remember that saying “why can’t we all get along?” I don’t have an answer to that very simplistic question, I’ll most likely walk the remainder of my days without that answer. What I do know is as the world changes, we need to prepare to change with it. Those that are slow to change whether in business or in life are doomed to failure. We have been given eyes to see and ears to hear, let us heed the current trends and signs so we may be prepared. There is a host of workplace safety/active shooter professionals available for consult, consider contacting one to help you draft a policy to protect you and your employees now and in the future.

My heart and prayers go out to the victims, families, and first responders involved in the Mass Shooting that occurred October 1st, 2017 in Las Vegas. Rest in Peace.

What’s Your Side Hustle?

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By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR

I am completely guilty. Every single time an article crosses my eyes that says something to the effect of “How to Become a Millionaire in 3 Simple Steps” or “5 Simple Steps to Success,” I admit to taking the bait and clicking. The humorous part is I know exactly what I am about to get myself into, long before I finish reading the article. I may be able to withhold my compulsion for a minute; however, my curiosity often overcomes my internal voice of reason. And honestly, who doesn’t want to be extremely successful right?

After clicking these links I am almost always immediately filled with regret. It creeps up from the pit of my stomach as if reading each painstakingly oversimplified suggestion renders me less and less satisfied than the tip that preceded it. Pick any three “adjectives” you want, insert them into an article, and then summarize with “follow these steps and BOOM Zillionaire.” Many of these articles come from non-credible sources; however, surprisingly some of these same ambiguous “buy my program today” articles come from reputable entrepreneurs and A-list magazines.

Typically, the article ties back to a consulting service, training class, or another tangible item that can be purchased at an additional cost, ultimately feeding revenue back to its source. It’s a good business model and it does work, so in a way, these articles do provide a value as it serves as a business model to mirror. Regardless of the sellable item, whether the industry is real-estate, financial sales, insurance, consulting, etc., the concept can be duplicated and tweaked with varying façades.

I have no issue personally with this type of hustle, but I do have a concern for those who are seeking guidance in these articles because they are in dire financial straits. There are certainly many ways to achieve multiple revenue streams utilizing today’s technology online without paying for “John Doe’s” get rich quick program. Millennials have got this figured out, they are starting businesses younger and starting more average businesses than any other generation that has preceded them. Not only do they have little fear of failure in starting a business, but they are quicker to embrace current technology and stay on top of hottest trends. A winning combination.

I won’t insult your intelligence with a simplified list of adjectives and call it a recipe for success, but I know generating additional income online is certainly achievable because I have. If you are in-between professions, waiting patiently for interview feedback, or have hit a low point in your savings accounts, there are many creative ways to source additional income and there is no need to pay for someone’s unique system. For every pay-for system that is listed online, there is someone willing to give out the information out for free. YouTube is a fantastic resource. In terms of practical information, YouTube has taught me more than my undergraduate and graduate degree combined. If you want to monetize a website, write a blog, create a drop shipping business, you name it, there is a video on it. Hundreds of thousands of free videos and walkthroughs on how to generate an active and passive income for free if you’re willing to take the chance.

The most successful people I know didn’t get to where they are today because of a list of descriptive action words listed in a motivational article. They had luck, knew where to acquire resources, and had no fear. Thankfully you can teach an old dog new tricks, and as the world is changing we had better be prepared to learn new information and become fearless. When we have hit a point in our timeline when college degrees can generate a minimum wage and certificate programs return six-figure incomes, it is time to get creative with our income strategies today because who knows what tomorrow brings.

Source:  https://group.bnpparibas/en/news/bnp-paribas-global-entrepreneurs-report-2016

Workplace Disloyalty: Doubles Down On Deception

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By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR

Recently I spoke with a Director of Human Resources for a local Professional Employer Organization (PEO) during a networking event. She notified me that they were initiating a “Confidential” employment screening for a replacement Human Resources Manager and she asked if I knew anyone that may be interested. When I asked what happened to the incumbent, the response fell in-line with what is becoming the new standard. The Director stated the manager is currently still employed, but due to personality conflicts she may need to be “let go in a couple months.”

The hairs on the back of my neck stand when I hear comments such as these, so I asked three simple questions:

  1. Was the employee notified of a deficiency?
  2. Has the employee been placed on a plan for success?
  3. Did you attempt progressive discipline in attempts to correct behavior?

The answer to all three questions was a “no.”  So, this employer is sourcing for talent for a “what if” scenario that they are not interested in pre-emptively correcting. I personally see a moral and ethical breach on the part of the employer; however, things are always difficult to truly judge external to the organization. I bring this up because of employee and employer loyalty, both appear to be heading for extinction.

Recruiters will tell you 73% of people currently employed are open to exploring new employment possibilities. Conversely, if a recruiter contacts an organization having no current vacancies, may ask if they would like to “upgrade” any staff most will say yes. This employee and employer loyalty model has driven the median tenure rate to below 4.2 years according to the 2016 Department of Labor Statistics. The trend is expected to continue its downward spiral unless there is a drastic change in employment ideology.

If the employee and employer relationship is a problem, then certainly one of its associated symptoms is its effect on recruitment. Once a profession that once struck lifetime relationships, it was once possible to help the very same person through every transition of an employee’s career. For example, my grandfather worked for DuPont for 35 years until retirement. His two brothers had similar tenures with the same employer, and one of them worked his way from a blue-collar, non-exempt position to an executive. They all had living wages, promotions and enviable benefits by today’s standards.

This was yesteryear, recruiting is lucrative but it is also extremely competitive as a profession. Those that hustle make top dollar, and that’s generally only are placing 5% – 10% of inventory. Notice I used the word inventory instead of “Human Capital.” Top performers can’t be bothered with the 90% that is not hirable by organizations and they generate the most maintenance in terms of customer service. So, what do they do? Forget about the lost 90% and move on, no need for phone calls, feedback letters, or follow-ups.

Look at the horizon and wait until the internet giants awake from their slumber and begin capitalizing in the recruiting space. Imagine the disruption of the industry if Google, Facebook, and Microsoft go all in competing for market share. Don’t think they will try? Google is ramping up now. Imagine the power of Google AdSense’s targeted ads but think in terms of employment. Picture it, potential candidates surfing their favorite websites and instead of receiving a targeted ad they receive a targeted employment invitation. An open job, which they meet all qualifications, and need they only hit one click. Boutique recruitment firms would have to up their game to compete even in niche markets. I mean who could target better than google?

I can’t help but wonder if that increased level of technological innovation would help the employee-employer relationship or further exacerbate the problem. Would easier access to jobs and an expedited hiring process decrease average tenure due to increased availability? Or would it make finding the candidate’s dream job an easier reality thereby increasing our employee and employer loyalty relationship?  What do you think?

 

Source: https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/tenure.pdf

Source: http://blog.accessperks.com/2017-employee-engagement-loyalty-statistics#1

Source: https://joshbersin.com/2017/05/google-for-jobs-disrupting-the-recruiting-market/

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/17/google-hire-is-a-recruiting-tool-that-works-with-google-apps.html

Post Disaster: Now What?

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Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR

No matter how prepared we think we are, life has a funny way of teaching us exactly how much we truly don’t know. Although a lifelong learner with extensive postgraduate education, I gleaned my most important lessons from the school of life, not from a formal university.  As a native Floridian, I’ve experienced countless hurricanes.  Never once, in all that time, did I ever feel compelled to evacuate.

That is, until now.  Along with 6.3 Million Florida brethren, I faced evacuation, but the prevailing question was, “Go where?”  Especially since Hurricane Irma’s massive “cone of uncertainty” covered the entire state.  The one and only reasonable action, flee Irma. That meant leaving the state with 1.5 million other Floridians residing in mandatory evacuation zones.  The biggest hurdle was there are only 3 major arteries out of Florida and only one direction out (North).

During our exodus, we encountered 874,000 other cars, a plethora of car crashes, gas outages and 150 plus cars lined up at the pumps. A huge problem emerged post-storm that I had quite frankly not anticipated.  Trying to get back home.  The volume of those displaced, the road closures, flooding and fuel delivery delays, all significantly impact the speed Floridians can return home.  Additionally, of those that chose to shelter in place, a major portion of this population have no power, no internet/phone service, and must make critical food and fuel rationing decisions.

My friends and family sought shelter in Tennessee. We all have already have been contacted by employers in one way or another inquiring as to when we can safely return to work.  Some of us have even received their 2nd phone call with slightly more demanding tones.  During breakfast this morning, I overheard a close family friend displaced from Miami, several months pregnant, and without a vehicle hang up on her employer stating, “I’ll return when I can.”

From a Human Resources perspective, it’s reasonable for employers to expect an employee’s prompt return to work contingent on when it’s safe to do so.  The primary goal for any for-profit organization is to ensure the financial success of the business and ensure stakeholder protection. But, there is a fine line between “reasonable” and “unrealistic” expectations. To date, I have never truly understood the complexities of such a large-scale evacuation, nor have I understood the intricacies of trying to return home post such an incident.

It is my responsibility as a Human Resources representative to adequately prepare and implement policy on how to handle such matters.  Just as important as developing policy, is the importance of maintaining open lines of dialog with operations and executive management prior to an incident to set definitions of what’s realistic and achievable.  Without a strategic partnership between human resources and operations, communication post incident to employees may come across far less empathetic than desired.

Having a seat at the big table in an organization is critical to Human Resources.  While it is easy to focus on the bottom line in terms of the production of widgets, it can also be easy to overlook the critical needs of our organizations “internal customers”.  Our employees are the lifeblood of an organization, and without them, no business can succeed.  This is one of our critical roles in Human Resources, and sometimes a gentle reminder to key decision makers on the human condition is required by human resources for a balanced business plan.

 

HR Department & Emergency Preparedness

By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR

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Does your organization have a well-designed, informative, and proactive hurricane action checklist?  Do you have an Incident Action Plan that establishes what your department role will be pre, during, and post incident?  I am confident that many of the larger well-established departments have plans in place.  I am also just as confident that smaller departments with limited resources may “shoot from the hip” with little to no guidance on how to establish an effective plan.

Never assume that your employees know how to, have done so in the past, or have access to the required resources to survive a disaster.  As the HR Department representative, take a proactive role and educate all your employees and guarantee they have access to basic information.  My suggestion is a handout that is prepared and delivered in person, which ensures delivery and provides visual feedback as to the employee’s level of preparation.  This document should be custom tailored to your specific region with emergency contacts to the following agencies:

  1. Ambulance, Police, & Fire
  2. Social Services
  3. Highway Patrol
  4. Marine Patrol
  5. Local Hospitals
  6. Local Veterinarians
  7. Poison Control
  8. VA Clinic
  9. Utilities
  10. Emergency Managers
  11. Insurance Hotlines
  12. FEMA
  13. Emergency Number for your Organization

This document should also have additional information such as basic CPR instructions, wound management, and general safety tips.  In years past I have functioned as a professional rescuer.  In my experience, most injuries and deaths occur post incident not during.  In the case of a hurricane, once wind speeds approach 50 miles per hour, most emergency response departments will cease.  During the critical stages of a hurricane, employees must be self-sufficient.  All 911 calls at this point are “queued” based on the level of priority, resuming only once conditions are deemed safe for responders.

Be sure to assign an individual responsibility for all communications to employees.  This individual should be tasked with updating all employee files with accurate contact information such as addresses and phone numbers.  They should also be responsible for developing a check-in process, via phone, email, social network, etc.  Facebook offers a safety feature called Facebook Safety Check which allows individuals to check-in virtually during a disaster.

Make sure that your Incident Action Plan allows for employees to have adequate time off to prepare and prep for storms.  Likewise, make sure you have a written plan on how you will handle compensation during the emergency.  Emergencies happen with sufficient frequency that there should also be a written policy assigning who is responsible for maintaining each critical business activity such as payroll and vendor management pre-and post-incident.

There may be individuals that may need to work on site during the incident, or have no place to go.  Choose how you will handle these situations prior to an incident. Either a plan for assistance to local shelters or maintaining an emergency cache of supplies on site are both options.  Any required emergency supplies to be kept on site would vary based on need, this task might be best delegated to your Safety Manager.

Hurricane Irma is days away from impacting Florida and putting a written plan in place may not be feasible for some.  At the very least, make sure all contact information with your employees is current, make a “touch” and find out if they have any needs, and make sure to check in on them.  To those that are going to be affected by this storm, my thoughts and prayers are for you.  Everybody please remain safe during this storm and take heed from local officials should they request that you evacuate.  God Bless.

Resources 2042: Wait, Where Is The Human?

By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR

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Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash

Today’s human resources management profession has jettisoned far from its humble beginnings. So far that, with the advent of newer technologies, the ghostly specter of transactional personnel departments with their voluminous paperwork and manual record keeping, seems…well…other worldly, pre historic perhaps. Even after the outgrowth from headcount reporting to more expansive employee services, bleeding-edge technologies have revolutionized the industry even further.

Nowadays, as human resources professionals, you have seen your roles swell into true strategic business partners in every sense of the word. The average human resources generalist is a part attorney, psychologist, project manager, IT professional, and above all champion of human capital. To be fully proficient in this industry now requires an amazing skill package. But, given the dramatic evolution in the past 40 years, especially the milestones reached in the last 10, what effect will tomorrow have on this profession?

In a recording I recently watched of the World Economic Summit 2017, Elon Musk – the CEO of SpaceX and one of the guest speakers presenting, was asked, “What’s next in technology that will disturb the way the world lives and the way we do business?”  What a great question for a savvy business magnate, investor, engineer, and inventor with an estimated net worth of $16.1 billion, making him the 80th-wealthiest person in the world. In December 2016, Musk was ranked 21st on the Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People.

So given his credentials, I found his answer intriguing and thought-provoking. It made me question what challenges lie ahead for the human resources profession. While this probably won’t affect our generation, but if you have a science fiction bent as I do, you may ponder this question awhile too. In short, Elon Musk said, “The development of autonomous cars and artificial intelligence will have a significant ‘disruption’ on society and employment.” In his vision, “Almost all cars being built will be capable of full autonomy in about 10 years.”

He added, “Somewhere between 20 and 25 years in the future, potentially 12-15% of our society could be unemployed simply due to jobs lost by individuals employed as drivers.” He further warned, “Play close attention to the development of artificial intelligence…we have to be very careful how we adopt artificial intelligence.” He followed with, “There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better.”

Now, that got me to thinking. I already see dedicated self-automation in checkout lanes at Walmart, my orders from McDonald’s are done on a human-less Kiosk, and artificial intelligence has already reached a point that it can beat the best chess players in the world. If you have never heard of Google’s DeepMind project, there is AI software capable of learning to teach itself how to walk, run, jump, and climb all without someone teaching in a mere matter of hours. Now picture that technology, exponentially more advanced in 20 years, combined with the advancements that will be made in robotics. What will our future workforce look like? Can you picture that?

Elon Musk’s interview ended with this final question, “If you want to advise government officials to be ready for the future, what advice would you give them?”

“What are we to do about mass unemployment?” he asked. “This is going to be a massive social challenge. Um, and I think ultimately, we will have to have universal basic income. I don’t think we are going to have a choice.” From a human capital perspective, his answer evokes deep concerns.

There’s no way for the average layperson to prophesy the future, but there certainly will be mega shifts in business and the workforce if Elon Musk’s predictions come to pass. I can’t help but wonder if the future of Civil Rights and the Equal Opportunity Commission will be the prohibition of discrimination against humans in the workforce. At that point, Generation Z will hold the reins of futuristic Human Resources, and I wish them tremendous success navigating those waters. I surely hope by then, all of us here and now, are in retirement mode, sipping a spritzer, talking to our kids about the good old days and how things used to be.

If you are interested in watching the original interview, here’s the link to YouTube video listed below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbkO2a2T6Cs

Five Job Search Tips for Vets Entering The Civilian Job Market

By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR

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Photo by Benjamin Faust on Unsplash

While reading online posts, I noticed a significant number of unemployed military veterans with vast education and experiences. “What does it take to get hired in the civilian market?” they asked. They have decades of relevant service, noteworthy leadership skills, and their profile pictures are charismatic in formal dress uniform, so what is the problem?

Before I list a few tips that may address some of the questions I have seen, let me preface with two important pieces of information. The quest for jobs in the civilian market takes a long time. For each 10 thousand dollars, you wish to make annually, it may take up to one month to gain employment. So, if you are seeking a job that pays $60,000 it can take up to six months searching.

Next, feedback and notifications back to applicants have all but vanished. For every hundred resumes you send, you may hear little to nothing back. This is important to know because it can be discouraging to hear nothing or simply receive auto generated emails saying, “we have chosen another candidate.” You may be tempted to think the problem is with you. The problem is not with you.

Now, let’s work on getting you that job.

Here are 5 key tips for veterans entering the civilian job market. Human eyes typically no longer see your resume on a pre-screen. When you enter an application online, it typically feeds into an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This system is designed to house and screen the organizations’ talent pool. It will pull the top candidates based on key words found in the job description or the needs of the hiring manager.

1.    Develop an ATS Compliant Resume. Aesthetics here can hinder your job search. Any complicated forms, text boxes, or tables can cause the ATS system to not “see” your qualifications. A simple TXT, Word, or PDF with no advanced graphics is best converted by ATS systems.

2.   Use the job description for the position you are applying to find the keywords the employer is looking for. Incorporate those keywords into your resume and in the description of your previous job duties. This can be done by reading the job description or using an online site such as www.wordle.com to scan the job description in which you are applying. You can also google top keywords related to the industry you are specifically seeking employment.

3.   “Civilianize” your resume. You want your job descriptions and titles of your previous positions to be perfectly understandable by a lay person. If a civilian recruiter does not understand your title or position, neither will the ATS. This may require you to use “functional titles” versus your official title. Find the position of your civilian counterpart and utilize this in your resume. You can explain your official title and rank during a pre-screen interview.

4.   Optimize your social media to reflect all the above recommendations. This will help increase your online ranking and in recruitment searches. If you are using LinkedIn be sure to let recruiters know that you are open to a new opportunity. This link shows a step by step tutorial.

https://blog.linkedin.com/2016/10/06/now-you-can-privately-signal-to-recruiters-youre-open-to-new-job

5.   Consider a professional recruiter that specializes in a military to civilian transition. There are plenty of online services that will redo your resume or optimize your Linked In profile; however, someone who has walked your walk will take the extra time and energy in successfully getting you hired.

You are born leaders in every way. I cannot begin to express the amount of gratitude I have for all of you who have served our country. You have put yourself in harm’s way every day and have dealt with the tremendous personal sacrifice of protecting our nation’s freedom. We owe you a world of gratitude. The organization that hires you will be infinitely more successful because you are in it. I hope these quick and easy tips will help get you where you want to be.

Lessons Learned from a Recruiter

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By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR

A recruiter recently contacted me online. She texted that I had an interesting background then suggested we connect. I welcome new contacts and industry networking opportunities so I readily agreed to a video teleconference. That hour-long conversation morphed from the typical recruitment exchange into something different, a life lesson.

In a world now veiled with the most stringent political correctness, some topics are usually considered taboo during routine business conversations. Ours ventured off- grid to several off limits topics such as religion, spirituality, morals, ethics, and world travels. Although a departure, I found this recruiting approach refreshing from the more conventional “what region and salary range are you seeking”. This individual jockeyed into a “life coach” role rather than a recruiter.

After I expressed my delight about her happiness-consulting methodology to clients, she taught me a thing or two about life. I soon discovered this recruiter had completed a video conference two weeks prior with a candidate that had been devastated by life’s circumstance. “You visually could see the weight of the world on this candidate’s back. Her posture and presentation all but radiated defeat,” she said. “I took over an hour to slowly begin nursing back her confidence. All that the candidate needed was a little TLC and someone to believe in her.”

I could not believe what I was hearing, especially in this age. A sales professional who really cares about saving the world one person at a time. Amazing. A happy ending for the candidate for she is now in process of being placed with a firm due to this “life coach” tactic to recruiting. The candidate was so ecstatic about the personal attention she received that she sent a thank you letter to the agency referring to the recruiter as a “unicorn.” In my 17 years of handling recruiting, training, and onboarding, I have never received a thank you letter from a candidate calling me a unicorn. Most of the thank you letters I receive appear “canned” or plagiarized templates off Monster.com.

My take is this, just because you have done something for years, does not mean you have been doing it right. Or if you’re doing it right, be more open to being the finest professional your customer has on his or her team. This recruiter did nothing short of the same for me. After an hour of speaking with her, you know what I did? I went for a jog. Why? Because somehow during an interview, she convinced me that eating right and working out was important. Did you catch that? After an interview, the recruiter convinced me to take a jog. Now, that is some fine recruiting.

I had to strategically bring the interview to a close, because I was pretty sure if I had not, I would be joining the peace corps, traveling abroad then immersing myself in a third world country to tackle the most pressing challenges of our generation. We all need to be so effective on the job that our stakeholders will not only be satisfied with your service, that they will be delighted. To all recruiters out there that put this level of total quality service into your work, thank you. I will be borrowing from your tools and adding them to my own toolbox.

One person cannot save the world, but one person can save another’s world.  If we keep reciprocating this ideology to each other, it will lead to positive change.