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Your Employee Matters

How to Counteract Workplace Discrimination

By Your Employee Matters

1611-em-3Workplace discrimination strongly affects with work environment. It lowers morale, causes conflict and increases turnover. It can also lead to lawsuits. Counteract workplace discrimination as you do your part to make your workplace safe for everyone.

Workplace Discrimination Defined

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines workplace discrimination as any action that treats employees differently because of their race, color, national origin, age, gender, health or religion. Discrimination is prohibited during every phase of employment. Employers cannot violate this federal law as they hire, assign jobs, pay, give benefits to, promote, discipline or fire employees.

Implement Anti-Discrimination Policies

The first step to counteract discrimination and create a unified workplace is to implement anti-discrimination policies. Management should set the tone for the entire workforce and outline acceptable behaviors since employees may not know what discrimination looks like.

Those policies should include details about discrimination such as:

  • The official definition of discrimination
  • Prohibited behaviors
  • Penalties for violating discriminatory policies
  • Affirmation that the company will not retaliate against anyone who reports discrimination

Hold Anti-Discrimination Trainings

Regular trainings ensure the entire workforce remains discrimination-free. They should be held at every level for all employees.

During training, employees learn about federal anti-discrimination laws and potential penalties companies face for violations. They should also review workplace policies. If specific cases of discrimination are happening, the training should address those issues via role playing that teaches employees the right way to handle differences. A question and answer session can clarify details.

Know the Procedures for Reporting Discrimination

Every workplace should have a formal process in place for reporting discrimination. It assures employees that the company takes discrimination seriously and is committed to workplace safety.

Employee should all be encouraged to report issues as soon as possible. They should know who to talk to about discrimination, what forms will need to be completed and how to document the discrimination. Also, management needs to reinforce that every discrimination charge will be investigated quickly and thoroughly and that they will take any needed disciplinary action, even if it remains confidential.

Establish Anti-Discrimination Groups

Depending on the size of your company, you can establish anti-discrimination groups. These groups are made of subgroups, including women, minority workers or older employees.

Group members meet together and share their experiences with discrimination. Together, they then suggest solutions that prevent discrimination. Their feedback can create new policies and raise awareness about discrimination and workplace safety.

Workplace diversity and collaboration creates a safe workplace. Understand the anti-discrimination policies in place at your workplace, and make every attempt to get to know your co-workers as you counteract discrimination and protect yourself, your co-workers and your workplace environment.

Ways LinkedIn Can Boost Your Job Search

By Your Employee Matters

1611-em-2When it’s time to look for a new job, LinkedIn can help. It’s a social media site many recruiters, employers and job hunters use. Boost your job search when you use LinkedIn, too.

Check Out Networking Opportunities

Networking events can help you meet people, including potential employers. Scroll through your list of contacts and see if they’re attending any local or online networking events that you, too, can join as you get your name out there.

Discover Industry Trends

Most industries change regularly, and you need to be on top of the changes as you stay relevant in your job search. LinkedIn Pulse, found in the Interests menu, includes articles that may relate to your industry or skills and help you discover industry trends.

Share Your Resume

Up to 93 percent of job recruiters use social media to research job applicants. Get noticed when you post your resume on LinkedIn. Update it regularly to ensure you remain relevant, and be sure your profile includes industry keywords, is free of grammar and spelling errors and showcases your skills.

Convey Your Professionalism

Potential employers may be watching your LinkedIn profile even if they’re not hiring now, so always be professional. Only post content you would want your boss to read, never badmouth anyone, use a professional photo and stay active as you showcase your professionalism.

Learn About the Employees

After you find a company you like, you can learn more about its employees and make sure you’re a good fit. Navigate to the company’s LinkedIn page and search by department. You can then view individual profiles and learn about your potential co-workers’ training, skills and talents.

Personalize Your Cover Letter

In a cover letter, you tell potential employers why you’re a good fit for them. It includes a bit about your qualifications and background. Via your target company’s LinkedIn page, you discover valuable information about the company that allows you to write a personalized cover letter.

Prepare for Your Interview

Interviews are your chance to get to know your potential employer better, so research their LinkedIn company page. It gives you clues about the company’s mission statement, purpose and values that you can reference during the interview.

Plan Your Long-Term Career

No one can predict the future, but you can surmise how a certain job can affect your career long-term. Simply search people who have worked in your target company and a skill or job title. The results give you a glimpse into your potential future if you work for the company and can help you decide if you should pursue the job.

LinkedIn can be a valuable resource during your job search. Use these tips as you find your next job.

Why You Can be Grateful for a Frustrating Job

By Your Employee Matters


A frustrating job dampens your enthusiasm and makes going to work difficult. That job may be a blessing, though. Choose to be grateful for your frustrating job that gives you several benefits.

Learn More From a Job You Don’t Like

You’ll learn valuable lessons from every job you every have, but it’s the frustrating jobs that tend to teach us the most. Learn skills like patience, negotiation or consistency as you show up each day.

Find Your True Career Calling

Your frustrating job may teach you that you don’t like working in customer service, sales or data entry. As you cross careers off your list, you can narrow down your choices and find a career you really love.

Develop Perseverance

It’s easy to quit, but unemployment isn’t fun. Learn to persevere at your frustrating job, and you’ll gain an invaluable trait that will help you in all areas of life.

Enjoy the Benefits

Many jobs include an employee benefits package. Take advantage of those benefits and open a 401(k) account or get your physical health in order. Remember to look for other benefits, too, such as a short commute, casual Friday or tuition assistance. Even though you may not like the work, you can enjoy the valuable benefits.

Learn From Your Co-Workers

Some frustrating jobs are that way because of your co-workers. However, there may be one or two people in the company who can teach you valuable lessons like consistency, forgiveness or empowerment. You might also get leads to networking events, gain a solid job reference or find an exercise buddy as you learn from your co-workers.

Become a Better Leader

The leadership at your current job may contribute to its frustration. Maybe they don’t trust their employees, aren’t available to answer questions or contribute to the toxic environment. You’ll be a better leader at your future positions as you see how not to act.

Experience a Catalyst for Change

When life is comfortable, you have no reason to change. A frustrating job may be exactly what your career needs since you can put up with the job indefinitely or get your resume in order and find a different job.

Choose to be Thankful

Despite the frustrations, your job is providing the financial resources you need to live. Choose to be thankful for it. Gratitude enhances your personal life and can help you live longer, so start a gratitude list. As you look for things that are good, you may be surprised at how good your job really is.

A frustrating job is challenging. It can be a huge asset to your career, though, especially when you’re grateful for it.

7 Ways to Build Your Professional Skills for Free

By Your Employee Matters

1610-em-4Today’s job market is competitive. You can get ahead when you build your professional skills. While you could pay thousands of dollars for classes, consider seven ways you can improve your professional skills for free.

Earn a Diploma or Certificate

A diploma or certificate on the wall proves that you took the time and thought necessary to learn a new skill. With ALISON, you can take classes in sales management, sociology, web development or a variety of other courses. After completing all the modules in the class and scoring a minimum of 80 percent on the course assessments, you’ll receive your diploma or certificate.

Access Top College Courses

If you’ve ever wanted to attend the top colleges in the United States, now’s your chance. Coursera gives you free access to numerous classes. The lectures and non-graded materials are available at no cost to you, or you can pay a fee and earn a certificate for the graded work you complete.

Take College Courses

Maybe you want to change careers or brush up on new industry trends. Sign up for one of over 10,000 college classes available at Open Education Database. The math, engineering, health and other in-demand subjects are taught by college professors.

Learn a New Language

English may be spoken across the world, however, you want to stay relevant in today’s global economy. Use Duolingo to learn a new language. It’s a free app with lessons that include opportunities to listen, speak and translate. They challenge you to learn the language quickly, and you earn rewards every time you provide a correct answer and advance to a different level.

Boost Your Personal Development

Thousands of free classes are available for you to access on Udemys. Learn Adobe Illustrator or advanced writing skills from trained professional instructors as you advance through lessons that use videos and reading material. You can even leave messages for the instructors if you have a question about something you’re learning.

Hone Your Soft Skills

Whether you want to improve your Instagram abilities or learn advanced accounting skills, check out Skillshare. It offers 353 free video-heavy classes taught by professionals who are experts in their fields. Your free membership includes access to the classes, mobile app and Skillshare community.


You may not know programming, social media tricks or time management, but you might have a friend who knows these skills. Agree to trade lessons.  You can learn from your friend as you teach him or her something you know well, and you both benefit.

Improving your professional skills makes you more marketable in your current job and in future positions. Use these seven tips for building your skill set for free.

How to Take Time Off From Your Hectic Job

By Your Employee Matters

1610-em-3The average American leaves more than two full days of vacation time on the table every year. That may not sound like much, but time off from work is crucial for your productivity and well-being. So how can you make time for vacation when you have a hectic job? Try these tips.

Be Assertive With Your Manager

Your manager has the right to limit when you can take vacation. He or she may insist that everyone work during busy seasons, and two people in your department may be discouraged from taking off at the same time. However, you need to ensure that you get the time and the break you need and deserve.

Make an appointment to talk with your manager and express your reasons, including long-term sustainability and increased productivity, for taking off. He or she should be able to see the long-term benefits of allowing you to take the break you need.

Plan Coverage

Part of your hesitancy to take vacation is because you have so many responsibilities. Increase your willingness to take a break when you plan coverage for your duties.

Document how to do each element of your job, and include details about how to handle your clients’ needs. Then discuss the plan with your manager. Delegating responsibilities and assigning staff to handle your voicemails ensures your job gets done and helps you enjoy your vacation without worrying about whether or not your job is being done.

Prepare a Way to Check In

Unplugging completely is the best way to take a vacation. You need time to unwind. Realistically, though, you may need to check in occasionally and answer questions or handle issues.

As long as you can still maximize your relaxation, prepare a plan for checking in. You may agree to read your email or check your voicemail once a day or every two days. Or maybe you only respond to messages that are marked as urgent as you stay in touch but still get away from the daily grind.

Don’t Wait for a Good Time

Due to the nature of your job, it may never be a good time to take off. If you wait for a good time, though, you may never get the vacation that you need.

Instead, grab your calendar and decide when you want to take your vacation days.  You can then plan coverage for your duties instead of wondering if you should take off.

Your work performance and well-being improve when you take vacation. Despite your hectic job, you can take the time off you need when you use these tips.

8 Ways Social Media Can Help You Get a Job

By Your Employee Matters

1610-em-2You already use social media to connect with family and friends. Now, you can use it to get a job, too. As many as 2,000 hiring and Human Resources managers use social media to research potential employees, so make a good impression and land a job when you use social media in eight ways.

  • Be Authentic

    Most hiring managers are adept at spotting frauds. Be sure your resume, LinkedIn profile and other social media match as you create an authentic, honest and consistent image.

  • Exhibit a Professional Image

    In real life, you may be the life of the party, but hiring managers need to see that you’re a professional. Your profile picture should be a high-quality head shot in which you wear work appropriate clothing. Remember to proofread your posts and avoid posting racy, negative or controversial content, too.

  • Demonstrate Your Communication Skills

    Communication plays a major role in most jobs. Demonstrate your skills when you check your grammar, spelling and punctuation, and avoid profanity, arguments or negative rants. Always remember that someone may be using your social media accounts as an informal look into whether or not you can communicate properly.
  • Show Your Personality

    Hiring managers like to know that potential job candidates will fit in with the company’s culture. Include real life posts, pictures and other information in your profile as you show your personality and prove that you can fit in.

  • Showcase Your Interests

    As many as four out of 10 hiring managers select candidates who are well-rounded. That’s why you want to showcase your interests outside of work, including your volunteer activities and the ways you spend your free time. Consider leaving out any controversial or extreme interests, though, that may interfere with your ability to land the job you really want.

  • Include References or Recommendations

    Your resume includes professional references, and your social media accounts can, too. Ask your supervisor, co-workers and clients to post reviews of your skills, capabilities and services. The recommendations give hiring managers insight into your capabilities.
  • Post Awards and Accomplishments

    Awards and accomplishments prove that you have the skills listed on your resume. Include photos, screenshots or badges on your social media accounts as you reveal your skills.
  • Show Off Your Creativity

    If you can think outside the box, you are more likely to be hired. Use your social media accounts to demonstrate that you try new things, master new technology and are willing to learn new skills.

Your social media accounts can help you get your next job. In these eight ways, you can make a good impression and showcase your professional skills.

Tips to Get In-Depth Job Performance Feedback

By Your Employee Matters

1610-em-1You may think that you’re doing your job to the best of your ability, but every employee has strengths and weaknesses. Professional feedback affirms your strengths, reveals your weaknesses, helps you maximum your potential and improves your chances for career growth. If your supervisor is too busy or uninterested in giving you a review, try these tips as you get the feedback you deserve.

Perform a Self Review

You definitely want feedback from your supervisor, but evaluate yourself first. Be honest about your skills, capabilities, areas in which you excel and areas that require improvement. If possible, ask your co-workers for input into your job performance, too.

Prepare a Performance Review Document

Prepare for your feedback review when you create a performance review document. It lists three to five job objectives upon which you would like your feedback review to be based. As an example, if you work in sales, ask your supervisor to evaluate your appearance, ability to build rapport with clients and success at follow-up.

Ask for a Review

Now that you have your performance review document, you’re ready to approach your supervisor and ask for a review. Mention that you want to improve your job performance and ensure you remain a valuable team player. Remember that you can ask for a review whether you’ve worked in your current position for several weeks or several years.

Be Ready to Accept Criticism

Even though you asked for the review, you may not be prepared to hear what your supervisor has to say. Prepare yourself before the review meeting to accept criticism no matter what it may be. An open attitude shows that you are truly committed to making the changes that will improve your job performance.

Commit to Change

It’s easy to ask for feedback and then dismiss it without acting on it. Show your supervisor that you are truly motivated to change when you ask for a follow-up meeting and take his or her feedback to heart. Continue to practice your strengths, and for each weakness listed, create steps that help you achieve the requested changes. Discuss your progress during your follow-up meeting.

Ask for a Review at Least Annually

Now that you’ve had your first in-depth performance review, write a reminder to schedule another review at least once a year or more often if necessary. Your job performance and career future will improve as you request, accept and implement the feedback you receive.

Your job performance and future career path depend on you honing your professional skills now. Use these tips to get an in-depth performance review that identifies your strengths and weaknesses as you improve your professional capabilities.

Can Your Employer Monitor Your Social Media, Email and Phone Use?

By Your Employee Matters

em-sept2016-3You expect privacy at work. No one wants to think that their employers can go through private emails or listen in on phone conversations. However, your employer can monitor your social media, email and phone use in several circumstances.

Screening Job Candidates

Apply for a job, and expect the potential employer to check out your social media profiles. They do this to make sure you’re not involved in illegal activities and to find out more about you, including if you’re a good fit for the company’s culture.

It is legal for a potential employer to find out more about you online, but they cannot ask for your social media passwords. They also cannot access your social media accounts to find out more about protected statuses such as your religious or political views or sexual orientation. If you suspect your rights have been violated, file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Employee Social Media Monitoring

As many as 60 percent of employers monitor their employees’ social media usage as they look for security breaches. It is illegal for employers to fire employees who complain about their workplace. However, employers can fire employees who share private or confidential information.

Follow your company’s social media use guidelines precisely. Protect proprietary and confidential information every time you’re online as you comply with your company’s social media usage guidelines.

Email and Phone Interception

Laws are fuzzy regarding email and phone interception by employers. According to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986, it is illegal to intentionally intercept oral, wire or electronic communication. The Act does include an exemption, though, for businesses to perform email and phone call monitoring.

Currently, several courts are considering the exemption. In general, it applies when employees use employer-owned computer systems and phones if the employer can prove that the monitoring has legitimate business purposes. It’s also legal if you signed the employee agreement that gives your employer consent to monitor your phone calls or emails.

If you’re concerned about phone or email monitoring at work, talk to your attorney. Bring a copy of the employee handbook or agreement. Be prepared to discern between business and personal phone calls and emails, too.

The bottom line is that your employer can monitor your social media, email and phone use within certain limits. Know your rights as you access these essential communication tools any time you’re at work. For more information, talk to your Human Resources manager or consult your employee handbook.

How to Follow Up on a Job Application and Not Be Annoying

By Your Employee Matters


em-sept2016-4You’ve applied for a job, and now you wait. But you don’t want to wait too long and miss out on the position or appear overzealous and pester the hiring manager. These tips can help you follow up on a job application without being annoying.

Connect With the Hiring Manager

In addition to submitting your application to the appropriate email address, send your application to the hiring manager. Find his or her email address on the company’s website or by calling the company’s switchboard.

State in your email that you followed the appropriate application submission channels but are also reaching out to the hiring manager personally. You can also reiterate that you think you’re a good match for the job and look forward to talking more when the hiring manager begins scheduling interviews.

Don’t Send Paper Follow Ups

Thank-you letters used to be acceptable, but hiring managers now prefer electronic follow ups. Plus, an email is easy to forward to other departments or colleagues for whom you may be a good fit.

Nix the Packages

You might think that homemade brownies or a high-end watch will grab a recruiter’s attention. Packages are actually turn-offs, so don’t use them to follow up.

Follow Up Once

It’s okay to follow up once on a job application, but wait at least a week after you apply and only email once. Repeated contact annoys hiring managers and could land your application in the trash can. You did your part and must now wait until the company decides who they will interview.

Utilize LinkedIn

On LinkedIn, you can easily see if you know someone at the company where you applied. Contact that colleague and find out more about the company as you prepare for a potential interview.

Stay Classy

Reaching out on social media without the hiring manager’s permission or showing up uninvited at the office is creepy. Stay classy to improve your chances of landing the job.

Keep a Follow Up Calendar

If you apply for multiple jobs at one time, you could get confused about whom you’re supposed to follow up with. Start a follow up calendar that lists all the applications you send out and the hiring managers for each job. The calendar will help you follow up in a timely manner and stay organized.

Continue Your Job Search

It’s painful to realize that you may not get the job to which you applied. Give yourself permission to move on. Apply for another job as you find the best company for you.

Your next job could be one email away. Follow up the right way as you apply for a job.

8 Reasons You’re Not Getting Promoted

By Your Employee Matters

em-sept2016-2You’ve been working at your job faithfully for a while and think you’re ready for a promotion. Why aren’t you getting one? These eight reasons could be the cause.

Not a Team Player
The way you interact with your co-workers can influence your future at the company. Make sure you play nice, compromise and promote peace with your co-workers, and refuse to gossip about anyone as you promote teamwork.

Low Intensity
The best employees stay focused and busy during the day. They don’t slack off, stretch out projects or goof off. Instead, they welcome the opportunity to work hard and be efficient and effective.

Don’t Ask Questions
Unless you can read minds, you will need to ask questions that clarify projects and duties. Use a notepad to track any questions you have, and reduce confusion and wasted time and resources.

Unwilling to Receive Correction
Everyone messes up sometimes. Be willing to accept correction. You can even ask for regular feedback on your job performance as you maximize your strengths, fix any weaknesses and work your way to the top.

Don’t Ask for a Promotion
Let your boss know that you want to move up in the company. Set up a meeting to discuss your career goals, and ask what you can do to advance. Many bosses appreciate employees who take initiative and are willing to work hard to achieve their goals.

Lack of Necessary Skills
You might be great at your job, but if you don’t have the skills needed to advance, you won’t get a promotion. Find out what skills you need and start learning them. If you lack technical skills, find out if your employer will pay for you to go back to school. If you need to learn diplomacy, business communication or sales techniques, talk to your boss and co-workers about how to gain these essential skills.

Shorten Your Work Day
If you regularly come in late, leave early or take long lunch breaks, your boss will see you as a slacker. You don’t have to work overtime without pay every single day to prove your worthiness, but do show your boss that you’re productive, eager to work and ready for more responsibility.

Relaxed Dress and Grooming
It’s okay to wear casual clothes if your employer allows it. However, make sure the way you dress and your grooming habits remain professional and show that you respect your job and deserve respect.
Are one or more of these eight factors preventing you from getting a promotion? Take steps today to change your behavior and achieve your career goals.