Career Advice, Dr. Floyd Williams, Floyd Williams, Leadership

4 Benefits of Enhancing Your Professional Network

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No matter what industry you work in, it pays off to have a strong professional network. For young professionals, it’s primetime to build their network since they’re just entering the workplace and those connections can go a long way as they move along in their careers. To some, meeting and connecting with strangers, or even simply shoring up the connections they already have, can feel a little daunting. It’s true that if you want a great network, you’ll need to put the work in, but you’ll see plenty of benefits down the road from all of that hard work.

Put yourself out there

Whether you’re introverted or extroverted, it’s important to make a conscious effort to put your best foot forward and get to know other people. Attending networking events, whether within your company or your community, is a fantastic option. Find a professionals group and organizations affiliated with your industry and get to know more people. Take up a hobby and talk to the people there. Volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about. The more effort you put into getting to know others, the easier it is to make genuine connections and grow your network. The same goes for at your job; get to know the people around you so you can work in a place you see friendly faces and feel a personal connection with your coworkers.

Actually listen to others

As you’re networking and getting to know people, make sure you’re actively listening to what the people you’re speaking with are saying. People can tell when you’re listening to them and when you’re simply glazing over. Ask questions and stay engaged in the conversation; you could learn something new and make a great addition to your network. Too many people do not listen to others when they speak, so show that you’re an exception and cultivate real connections.

Pull others with you

One of the best steps you can take as you move up in your career is pulling other people along with you. If you’re in a position to pass along someone’s resume, provide a reference, or let someone know about a job opening, do so! Do not view others as competitors, instead, think of them as people you can help who might one day be someone you’re working with or for; you want to have that strong connection and help push others closer to their dreams. People remember and appreciate those who’ve helped them along the way, but you should also want to help others because it’s simply the right thing to do.

Be nice to everyone

This tip can help your career, but it’s also just generally good advice for your life. No matter what your position is, do not think people are under you or be rude. You never know who’s watching or when you’ll encounter that person again. Being nice to others can make you feel better if you’re having a bad day and it can ignite interesting conversations.

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Career Advice, Dr. Floyd Williams, Floyd Williams, Leadership

How to Be More Productive and Actually Achieve Your Goals

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It can be difficult to maintain productivity when there are constant distractions and other obligations pulling you in different directions. Between work, family, and other aspects of your life, focusing on one task at a time becomes increasingly challenging in this day and age. Everyone has goals they’d like to achieve, but when you have so many options and a variety of things to do and accomplish, it can feel like you’re getting nowhere as you put a little time into everything, but not enough time into any of it. In order to overcome these challenges, you need to focus on ways to be more productive.

Limit outside distractions

The first step you must take if you want to be truly productive is to limit outside distractions. Set your phone away and focus only on the task at hand. Let your family or coworkers know that you’re busy for a specific amount of time so you avoid anyone interrupting you for anything short of an emergency. Keeping distractions to a minimum is the best way to get work done.

Find a great place to work

Whether you’re in the office or at home, finding an environment that fosters productivity is the best step you can take. Make your desk space enjoyable and conducive to focus. If you need to move somewhere new and more private, find a place you can do so. Make a work environment that makes you feel comfortable and motivated.

Write down your plans

Making a schedule you can follow and clearly see your to-do list is a great way to stay on task. Avoid overextending yourself and writing too much down, because it can make you feel unmotivated and like it’s impossible to get everything done. Try writing down three main tasks you want to get done that day and focus on those. You’ll find it’s manageable to complete those tasks and you’ll have a great sense of accomplishment.

Take care of yourself

Taking care of yourself is vital to true productivity. Get enough sleep, eat well, and take breaks from time to time. Instead of working yourself ragged, find time to relax and have fun. It’ll help you get motivated to start work again and gives you time to recharge.

Tackle bigger tasks first

Once you figure out what exactly you need to get done and what your goals are, tackle your biggest tasks first. As you get the more important and urgent tasks out of the way, you’ll feel less stressed and can actually focus on smaller tasks.

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Career Advice, Community, Dr. Floyd Williams, Floyd Williams, Leadership

5 Reasons You Need to Evaluate Your Employee Benefits

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When it comes to considering a job offer, for many employees, a main concern is what the benefits package looks like. If you want your company to stay competitive, you’ll need to offer current and future employees incentives that makes them want to stay with the company. Even if you think your benefits package is pretty good, it never hurts to reevaluate it and see if there’s any way it can be improved. Here are some tips to evaluate your current benefits package and make it even better.

Healthcare

One of the biggest considerations for employees when looking at benefits is usually healthcare. Are you offering your employees the best deal you can? If it’s been a while since the company’s health insurance options were evaluated and updated, it’s probably time to do so again, especially considering how often legislation changes what’s possible and the various options. Once you’ve evaluated and improved the healthcare options, create a presentation to explain some of the specifics to employees and make sure they know the basic facts of the plans.

Current demands

Over time, employees want different kinds of benefits. Companies that offer significant maternity and paternity leave are often considered worthwhile to work for, especially if the employees are currently considering having children. Other employees value being able to work from home once a week or have flexible hours. Take into account current employee needs and wants and see what you can do to meet them.

Unique benefits

If your company is smaller and has limited funds, you can make up for what you can’t always offer in salary by providing unique benefits. Consider if you can offer your employees gift cards or rewards for meeting some set of goals or participating in something like an office-wide fitness program. Consider planning interesting activities that give employees a chance to unwind and relax. Offering continuing education classes or paying for some classes is another great bonus to add to the benefits package.


Time off

Employees enjoy having adequate vacation time and this area is one where a lot of companies skimp. Smaller companies often make up for lower salaries by offering an extra week or two of vacation time. While it might seem counter-intuitive, giving employees plenty of time to take off helps relieve stress and can make them more productive in the office.

Company ability

Overall, take a look at how your company has improved since you last updated your benefits package. If you can afford to take on more costs and enhance the benefits, it’s definitely something worth considering since it can greatly increase employee satisfaction.

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Community, Dr. Floyd Williams, Education, Floyd Williams, Students

4 Tips for Engaging Students in Their Education

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Some students simply do not feel interested in education and would rather spend their time in other pursuits. For educators, it can be incredibly difficult to connect with students with this mindset, but it’s important to make the effort. While not every student will excel in school or love studying, it is possible to make a connection with every student and find a way to engage them in education in order to motivate them to try their best. Students learn in different ways and care about various topics, so find ways to connect with your students and get them engaged!

Identify their learning style

Students learn in a variety of ways. It’s up to us as educators to pinpoint how each of our students learn and adjust our teaching styles to give them the most benefit. Encourage students to take quick evaluations to see what their learning styles are and be observant to see how your students retain information. Try various teaching styles and see which ones work best with students. The best way to help students with different learning styles is to take a mixed approach in your teaching style and utilize a variety of styles to help out students. For those that you know struggle a little more, ask them how they’re doing and give them plenty of opportunities to ask you questions and get help.

Incorporate fun into the classroom

While many public school educators have to stick to strict guidelines when it comes to teaching, there are ways to make sure your classroom stays fun and exciting for students. Instead of lecturing, come up with creative lesson plans that allow students to get involved in their education. Have them pick topics and create reports on them to teach the class or come up with fun games you can play with students to help them learn the material.

Talk about a variety of topics

There are going to be specific topics you need to focus on and course material you have to cover, but there’s room to add in more variety to your curriculum. Find topics that you think would interest the students or even ask each one of them to submit something they’d like to discuss and learn about at some point throughout the school year. Allowing students to become active participants in their own education helps keep them engaged.

Communicate with them

Communication with your students is vitally important. Besides asking them their learning styles and what they want to talk about, it’s also important that they feel safe and comfortable talking to you about issues they may be having. You could be the only adult in a student’s life they feel like they can talk to, especially if they have problems at home. Make sure students feel they can talk to you if there’s something going on in their lives that’s affecting their studies.

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Career Advice, Community, Dr. Floyd Williams, Floyd Williams, Leadership

6 Ways You Can Help Employees Be Better Prepared for Their Role

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Regardless of your industry, it’s important to properly prepare your employees for the job ahead of them. All too often, companies do not adequately train employees for their roles, which leads to confusion and stress down the line. Implement the best training procedures possible and make sure you’re hiring people who are good fits for the company. The more effectively people are trained for their roles in the business, the better the company as a whole performs.

Do in-depth interviews

The first step to take in order to make sure new employees are better prepared for their role is to conduct in-depth interviews. Instead of simply hiring someone because you liked them when they interviewed, make sure they’re actually qualified for the job and understand what’s expected of them. This way, you weed out people who are likable, but not actually qualified for the position.

Revamp your training

If you’ve been having issues with employees not being prepared for their new job, consider revamping your training program. You may be forgetting important points of the position or it simply may not be very clear. Try to look at the training from the perspective of someone completely new to the company; does the process get across what they need to learn and do in their new position?

Pair them with a mentor

Mentors can be incredibly helpful for new employees. Choose a current employee who has proved themselves to be reliable and is interested in helping out new employees. Let your new employees shadow their mentor and go to them with questions or issues they have; working with someone who has experience in the position makes the transition much easier for new employees.

Introduce them

A common problem at businesses is that new employees are not introduced to people who already work there. Send out a company-wide email announcing new hires and what their roles are. You can also plan events that allow new employees to meet people who work at the business in a more casual setting that provides the opportunity to talk and get to know each other.

Conduct evaluations

Regular evaluations and performance reviews help employees get a concrete understanding of where they are in their professional journey. Encourage supervisors to look for areas employees can improve in as well as what they’re doing well. By paying attention to how new hires are doing, you can avoid their confusion about their exact role or field any questions they may have.

Be clear about your vision

When employees understand the company goals and how they fit into that vision, it’s much easier for them to see the importance of their individual jobs. Highlight what each person can do to help make these goals a reality and reinforce the importance of their work.

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Career Advice, Community, Dr. Floyd Williams, Floyd Williams, Leadership, mentorship

How to Encourage Employees to Talk to You

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For many employees, it can seem difficult to approach people in management positions with concerns. However, communication is vitally important in any workplace. If you want your company and yourself to truly thrive, you need to encourage employees to speak with you or someone else about their concerns or suggestions for the job. It’s also beneficial to create an openness in the office that makes it easier for employees to talk to you about more general topics, like how their job is going, their hobbies, or anything else. The better the communication within an office, the easier it is to prevent issues from occurring; you want to find any way possible to improve the business.

Have an open door policy

A great policy to keep in place is an open door policy. Having set office hours where employees can come talk to you and ask questions or talk about something at the company can help with office communication immensely. Many workers may feel that you’re inaccessible, so providing a time for them to simply get to know people in management encourages them to talk to you and other administration.

Share about yourself

The best way to encourage employees to talk to you is to share about yourself. Talk about your career and how you’ve gotten to where you are, challenges you’ve faced, and even a little personal information. The more you show yourself to be a regular person, the easier it’ll be for employees to speak with you.

Make sure criticism is constructive

If you’ve been trying your best efforts to encourage employees to talk to you, but feel like they are not, consider how you provide feedback and your own communication style. You may be giving criticism that isn’t constructive or delivering what you think is helpful advice in a way that alienates employees. Make sure you’re communicating in a positive and constructive way if you want your employees to do the same and talk to you.

Allow anonymous feedback

While your ultimate goal may be to have employees openly confide in you, a first step to take would be allowing anonymous feedback. Giving your employees a way to provide honest feedback is a great step to showing that you’re open to hearing their opinions and want to change the company for the better. As they begin to trust the process, they’ll be more willing to talk directly to you.

Be transparent

Finally, a major pitfall that many companies stumble into is not being transparent enough with their employees. Even when a business feels that they are giving employees enough information, too often employees do not feel the same way. Make sure to keep employees updated about changes and the reasons behind them. Also, allow for questions so there’s no confusion or miscommunication.

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Career Advice, Community, diversity, Dr. Floyd Williams, Floyd Williams, Leadership, mentorship, Social Issues

5 Tips for Improving Affinity Groups

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Affinity groups are a great tool, but many companies may not have the resources to actually support a group underrepresented within the company. Affinity groups can be highly beneficial to employees and lead to great employee satisfaction. Instead of shelving the idea and leaving it to die, here are some ideas on how on to develop affinity groups using a bit of innovation and outside-the-box thinking.

Redefine the group

Instead of focusing on a narrow subset of people where there may not be enough of that certain group working at the company to form a busy and functional group, it would be wise to create a less specific definition of the group in order to include more people. Now, instead of a small group without much activity there will be an effort to find topics that are more in common with a wide variety of groups and people. Instead of focusing on a narrow demographic and limiting the number of people that can participate, everyone has to work together to find a common denominator. This can apply to many different attributes.

Find a friend

Instead of looking inwards, how about looking outwards? By finding similar organizations, there is not only networking in play but a greater share of power now that more people are involved. Finding organizations within your city is a great way to help underrepresented groups of employees find others to connect with and possibly bring more employees to your company to create more diversity.

Focus on finding new leaders

Every cause needs an advocate, and focusing on looking for leaders who will advocate underrepresented groups in your business is an important part of any endeavor. By finding someone important that can speak up on behalf of others, people’s voices will be heard. Not only that, but there is now a direct leader that helps streamline any ideas the group has so the objectives are clearly defined and organized to try and achieve. There is someone available for feedback and for advice to help out all employees of the business.

Focus on the good things

Through these types of affinity groups, alternate solutions may be found to problems that have not yet been solved. It is important to work on finding these solutions so your employees see the value in creating and cultivating affinity groups. After all, not much matters if a certain endeavor does not show its value. A combination of these tactics can help bring people into the fold and create results that would benefit everyone, not just a certain group.

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