If you can’t beat ‘em…

Still haven’t jumped on the social media bandwagon? Chances are it’s still affecting your business!

Check out this article from the MIT Sloan Management Review: Harnessing the Power of the Oh-So-Social Web

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The authors say the first step is to admit that consumers are taking power and that corporations are not in control (scary, I know!). Once you’ve come to terms with this, the potential benefits of properly utilizing social media are numerous:

  • Let your customers be vehicles for marketing messages
  • Take advantage of easy access to customer feedback
  • Tap into social media’s ability to perform as a direct sales application
  • Utilize the convenience of social media as an online customer support application
  • Allow employees to connect and share information with each other (employee engagement, anyone??)

 

By: Brynne Harrison, Program Coordinator  

5 Business and Career Development Facts That Will Spook You This Halloween

5 Business and Career Development Facts
That Will Spook You This Halloween


The five most important competencies today are self-motivation/discipline (44%), effective communication (40%), learning ability (29%) self-awareness (26%) and adaptability/versatility (22%).
2
Nearly 80% of current college students say they’re “very” or “completely” prepared to put their organization skills to work, just 54% of hiring managers agree.

3
71% of the workforce in America is actively disengaged.  This costs U.S. organizations $300 Billion annually.

4
For employees, the #1 day-to-day motivator, and by a huge margin, is “making progress in meaningful work.”

5
80% of companies don’t care about company culture.
Do you?

 

By: Blake Carbone, Coordinator

Top HR Tech Trends in 2014

Top HR Tech Trends in 2014
By: Stephanie Cattarin, Executive Director

Recently, in Chicago, the Society for Human Resource Management held their annual conference educating Senior-Level HR professionals on the latest topics and trends in the industry.  Forbes.com was able to get a word from one of the conference panelists, Paul Belliveau, managing director at AVANCÉ – Human Capital Management Advisors and member of SHRM’s, Technology and HR Management Expertise Panel, “The role of technology is that of an enabler, allowing HR to live out its strategies and support the business.”

  1. HR data is secure in the cloud. When it’s done right, cloud is just as secure as onsite, on-premise software solutions.
  2. Gamification is here to stay. Especially for millennials, gamification is the best  way for employers to communicate, engage, train, attract, and retain top talent.
  3. Integrated social media will result in better communication and collaboration.Software that embeds social media capabilities across daily processes, (as opposed to separate platforms), with internal and external colleagues is the optimal collaborative tool.
  4. Virtualization and globalization are transforming  the workplace. Remote working arrangements will continue to proliferate expanding outside country boundaries forcing       employers to be more innovative in how they use collaboration tools.
  5. Cross-functional innovation teams will become the norm to improve creativity, productivity, and quality. HR needs to collaborate with other departments to see what’s working, and apply those  best practices to help achieve HR goals.
  6. Cloud and business process outsourcing support business goals by reducing infrastructure costs while freeing up HR resources for strategic innovation.
  7. Mobile tools become even more prevalent from senior management through hourly workers. Anywhere, anytime access to information speeds up recruiting, boosts productivity,  and increases efficiencies that benefit not just employees but suppliers  and customers.
  8. HR needs to harness and analyze Big-Data for business performance results. With the right information, companies  can quantify the impact HR has on business performance, forecast       workforce demands near and long term, identify critical skills gaps,  explore different scenarios, and develop people strategies to meet the  needs of the company in a fast-changing global environment.
  9. Integration, consolidation, and “suite” solutions  will increase the interoperability of systems, databases, and tools. HR can make  more informed decisions about workforce management based on quality data sets from across the entire company.
  10. Global, standardized definitions for HR terminology, metrics, data models, and systems will emerge  as technology unites HR professionals worldwide.
  11. Read the full article on Forbes.com, “Top 10 HR Technology Trends For 2014″

Chat with an Instructor: Preparing for your college application

By: Brynne (BRE-in) Harrison, Program Coordinator

Back-to-school commercials already? Really? Suppose it’s that time again. For the new high school seniors it’s an especially important year with thoughts of post-high school plans. The CPD reached out to our college test prep instructor, Melissa Hooper, with some important questions about preparing for college as a high school senior:

CPD: Who should take the SAT and when should it be taken?

MH: The SAT is currently required by more than 80% of four year colleges! Chances are the college you are interested in requires that you take the SAT. If you’re like most students you’ll take the test for the first time in your junior year and a second, or even third time, again in the spring of junior year or in the fall of your senior year. You may want to begin testing early so you have more test dates available if you are not satisfied with your score.   

CPD: What is a perfect SAT score?

MH: A perfect SAT score is the one that gets you into the college of your choice.  A quick check of a college admission’s website page will reveal if the school requires SAT scores and what score you should be aiming for. The middle 50 percent for first-year students accepted to Canisius College in fall 2011 had an SAT Combined Score (Math & Critical Reading) of 1110.

CPD: What’s the most common misconception about the SAT? 

MH: The SAT is a test of intelligence. Truth is your SAT scores reflect how good you are at taking the SAT and how much time you spend preparing. While it is true a smart student with lots of knowledge will hopefully do well on the SAT, intelligence can grow through hard work. Your first step in succeeding on the SAT is test preparation. 

CPD: Should students consider taking the ACT? Why? Who?

MH: Some colleges actually prefer ACT scores over SAT scores, while others want both. The ACT is a different test, not better or easier. While the SAT tries to assess innate ability and test-taking skills, the ACT strives to assess the knowledge you have acquired, meaning that the test focuses on subjects and skills taught in high school. If you are better at one test, it should become evident after some practice. Pick the test you feel more comfortable with and put your efforts into studying for that test. 

CPD: How much time should you spend on your college admissions essay? Is it really that important?

MH: For some colleges, the admissions essay is the most important part of your application. Admissions committees use it to get to know the individual behind the test scores and the grade point average. You should think of your essay as a chance to show yourself off. Admissions committees also use the essay to determine how well you write because good writing skills are important for success in college. Your essay is an opportunity to prove that you are an interesting person and that you can write well. It should not be written in a hurry or at the last minute.

Check out Melissa’s test prep and admissions essay prep classes here.

8 Essential Tips To A Successful College Application

8 Essential Tips To A Successful College Application
By: Blake Carbone, Coordinator

So there you are, sitting at your desk, twiddling your thumbs while staring at the blank college application in front of you.  You’ve been asking yourself the same questions over and over in the last 20 minutes; Where do I begin? Who will write a recommendation  for me?  What if my SAT or ACT exam scores aren’t good enough?  Am I involved in enough activities and organizations?  What should I write my essay on?

Slow down and take a deep breath!  In the article, “Navigating the College Application Process” College Recruiter for Troy University in Alabama, Staci Hutto shares 8 tips on creating a successful college application package.  Here you will get helpful hints from the perspective of an Admissions Officer and learn exactly what they are looking for when reviewing hundreds, if not thousands, of applications.

Hutto recommends starting early and breaking the process down into more manageable parts,

1.  Organization
2.  Deadlines
3.  Transcripts
4.  Standardized Test Scores
5.  Volunteer and Extracurricular Activities
6.  Essays
7.  Letters of Recommendation
8.  Ask for Help

Autonomy Pushes Teams Forward

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Autonomy Pushes Teams Forward
By: Blake Carbone, Coordinator

Today’s online edition of Business Insider’s, Instant MBA, Harvard Business professor, Teresa Amabile shares 3 things that spark creativity.

“Creativity cannot exist without autonomy, resources and time.”

Amabile believes that this “creativity trifecta” is essential in the creation to some of the best ideas.  If managers give employees the time and space to pursue special projects, professional training and development or education, they will see larger returns (and I’m not just talking about the money!).  It not only lowers employee turnover but it can also lead to increased productivity and higher customer satisfaction.

For further reading: Learn how Google takes a similar management approach with their “20 percent time” philosophy in the New York Times article, “The Google Way: Give Engineers Room.”

Not Just a Buzzword

Leadership. It’s a buzzword we’re all used to seeing in job descriptions, on resumes and performance reviews and just about everywhere else in the workplace.

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It’s used so commonly that we often gloss over it and assume that, as long as it’s mentioned somewhere on our resume or in a cover letter, we’ve got our bases covered. But what happens when an employer asks what leadership means to you? What does a leader look like? Why is it important? And how do you fit into all of this? Suddenly the term becomes more ambiguous.

We often define leadership as the action of leading others; however it’s much more valuable to approach leadership as a consistently evolving trait, or way of behaving. Consider thinking about leadership based on the traits a leader should have. A recent poll* of top executives in the US found that the “four C’s” were the most frequently reported skills that young professionals are currently lacking in business environments. Critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration are traits that are essential to leadership. Abilities such as looking at issues from innovative and creative angles, effectively conveying ideas and thoughts in a productive manner and having the ability to work effectively in team environments are the leadership traits these executives are referring to. Developing these skills should be a central element to every young professional’s career development plan (you have one of those, don’t you?).

These traits are the backbone to highly effective leadership; but it doesn’t stop there. The four C’s show us what traits a leader should have, but the real action of leading is eliciting these traits in others; demonstrating leadership that produces the desire to lead in others. This type of inspirational leadership isn’t achieved through a line in a resume; it’s attained through the constant development of these pragmatic skills and a sense of engagement and enthusiasm in what you do.  Take control of your leadership skills by implementing and maintaining a professional development program tailored to your interests and skill set. For the tools to get started, check out the Canisius Center for Professional Development’s website.

*2012 Critical Skills Survey, AMA, December 2012

By: Brynne Harrison, Canisius CPD

Keep learning… seriously, you’ll live longer

As an academic institution it’s a no-brainer that we’d be dedicated to lifelong learning at the Canisius College Center for Professional Development. Anyone who has attended a workshop at the CPD shares this drive to continue their educational experiences even if their time in the formal classroom has ended. Most companies encourage lifelong learning as part of their ongoing employee development agendas—and rightly so. But actively pursuing heightened knowledge and experience throughout one’s life has benefits that extend far beyond the company’s success. According to a 2008 study, there are more far reaching advantages that include a heightened sense of individual well-being, family dynamics and community cohesion (Vorhaus, 2008). Take a look at these findings from the 2008 study:

  • Life expectancy: One more year of education has
    been shown to increase life expectancy in the
    United States by as much as 1.7 years.
  • Healthy lifestyles: People attending adult
    education courses are more likely to exercise and
    display greater awareness of health issues than
    others of their age.
  • Happiness: People involved in adult education are
    less likely to be dissatisfied in midlife, more likely to
    be optimistic and less likely to use health services.

So, in the spirit of longevity, health and happiness… never stop learning!

-BH-

Reference:
Vorhaus, John and Duckworth, Kathryn and Budge, David and Feinstein, Leon. (2008). The Social and personal benefits of learning: A summary of key research findings. Centre for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning, Institute of Education, University of London, London.

The ‘Engagement’ Word

The ‘Engagement’ Word

Employee engagement — its become a buzz word amongst business professionals worldwide. You can’t find a CEO or academic in the business field who isn’t convinced that EE (or worker engagement) is an important part of a company’s success. But what is EE and how is it achieved?

Coincidentally, a recent study published this month attributes EE to three key areas that we at the CPD happen to offer exciting seminars on! 

 

So let’s get back to defining EE. Simply put, it’s a modernized version of job satisfaction. Engaged employees have a heightened sense of commitment, both emotional and intellectual, to their job. (And what employee doesn’t want their boss taking measures to increase this?!) Statistical data (sometimes nicknamed engageonomics) produced by Aon HJewitt’s 2012 Global Engagement Report found that 58 percent of employees were engaged in 2011, which rose by two percent from the 2010 EE survey. And look at three of the main areas that the survey found significant to EE:

  • Effective leadership skills
  • HR practices that create a positive work environment
  • Effective communication skills

According to the NYTimes, Pete Sanborn, co-president of Global Compensation and Talent at Aon Hewitt says that, “As the economy improves, retaining top talent is going to be difficult… Our research shows that organizations with higher engagement have significantly higher total shareholder return than the average company, so organizations that focus on what matters most in connecting employees to their work will emerge as leaders, and the others will be left behind.” (The New York Times, 2012)

So, statistically speaking, both business leaders and employees who take advantage of the engaging (pardon the pun) seminars that the CPD has to offer will find increased levels of EE . Look at these we offer: “Creating and Sustaining Employee Engagement”, our Executive Leadership Series, “Mastering Professional Communication Skills”, “Coaching for HR Professionals” and “Leadership Development for HR Professionals”.

Come check it out! You can find these seminars (and their dates and registration info) on our website.

Cheers,

– Brynne (BRE-in) Harrison ~ newest, and thoroughly engaged, CPD employee

Women Leaders Recap

After weeks of preparation, we finally concluded our Women Leaders’ Retreat on the 26th and had welcomed 36 women into our training facility who participated in workshops and seminars that will prove to help them grow as more effective leaders, a necessity in the world of business.

The women from the event said it themselves that they found the two day retreat inspiring and gave them motivation to move forward to create a support system in their own companies.

Kerry Atlas of Tops Markets said, ” The group from our workplace were so inspired by the last two days that we’ve already begun the process of formulating a sanctioned professional women’s group at our workplace and reaching out to discover external groups with similar agendas of lifting up and developing women in the workforce.”

The women engaged in conversation rather than sitting in on a lecture-style workshop.

Just a small portion of the large group we had turn out for this amazing event!

The dinner at Sonoma Grille on the 25th proved to be a hit as well. Our panelists spoke reverently about the need for women in business and spoke candidly about the kind of obstacles and achievements of women in their respective industries.

Our Women Leaders look on as the panelists discuss the matters of the evening

Our panelists

We’ve gotten so many praises from our participants in regard to this event. We hope that next year we are able to see many new (or old) faces around. We want to help women professionals to grow and to exceed their greatest expectations.

For more information on the Women Leaders’ Retreat scheduled for next year, please see the Center for Professional Development website.