By Mary Ann Faremouth, CPC
January is a time for resolutions. Often these are personal, but as a recruiter for over 30 years, I consider January the logical time for everyone, employers included, to take stock of their professional goals for the year. First, let’s reflect on where the name January comes from.
According to Dictionary.com, January originated before the year 1000 from Middle English from the Latin noun Jānuārius, equivalent to Jānus. In ancient Roman culture, Jānus was a god of doorways, beginnings, and the rising and setting of the sun. As the god of transitions, Janus was often depicted with two bearded heads that face in opposite directions, looking to both the future and the past.
An interesting fact: The closely related Latin word jānua, meaning “door, doorway, entrance,” gives us janitor, which originally referred to a door attendant or porter before evolving to its more familiar sense of “custodian.” I have been smiling lately feeling like I truly have a custodian role as I try to right wrongs or smooth out so many differences in the workplace I hear from my client companies and employees. It seems all the changes are making the workplace more challenging than it’s ever been. So many are dealing with different generational sectors, streamlining processes and procedures to become more efficient, unprecedented talented shortages that make hiring tougher than ever and the specter of AI looming over it all.
Whether we are an employer, employee or recruiter, we all have an opportunity to be like Janus – to look ahead and behind so that our journey into the 2024 New Work World is filled with growth and success. But how do we do that? How, in the employment arena, do we look forward to the future and let go of past mistakes?
Let’s consider a few suggestions that might allow us to take a deep breath, look forward to this new year and be open to changing our mindsets. Here are a few ideas that might circumvent the past challenges and open opportunities to make the New Work World of 2024 more exciting and fulfilling than ever.
1. Be determined to maintain only a positive mindset.
Charting any new course of action is always difficult, but a determined mindset to make the best of any situation is always a step in the right direction. It’s easy to want to continue doing things in the same manner, even if the results are not working, but moving forward with a mindset that is unshakable can make the environment less strained and interactions with others be more civil and less complicated.
2. Be opened to considering transferrable skills as opposed to exact backgrounds.
Some of my most long-standing placements may not had the exact backgrounds employers listed, but they had the attitude, alignment and passion to do the job. Also, these people often will consider salaries that aren’t at the high end of the pay scale like a more seasoned employee. With soft skills such as multitasking, communication and problem solving already in their toolkits, they work harder to learn the necessary hard skills on their own time to make an even stronger contribution to the bottom line. If the mechanics of a person’s previous job in a different industry created a skill set that is very similar or transferrable, that person often is happier in the new job than someone who has held the same position for 20 years. Indeed, that person may be burned out continuing to do the same thing over and over again.
3. Have a more team-oriented approach.
Instead of only considering what’s good for “me,” why don’t we stay more cognizant of how “we” all could benefit if the needs of the team were front and center? If we are shorthanded in the department and deadlines are getting close, why not get together and decide how all can pitch in to help? Maybe one of the team members comes in early and another stays late. But the focus is that the team is working together to ensure the success of the company. This goes for managers, too: They are part of the team, and though their duties are different, they must be willing to roll up their sleeves alongside their reports when needed.
4. Cross-train employees.
“That function is not part of my job description.” This statement, while possibly true, doesn’t do the individual, the team or the company as a whole any favors. How about, “How can I learn what you do in another department to be able to make a greater contribution to the company?” An employee who is cross-trained is always more valuable and often realizes more rewards at performance-review times. When I worked for a Big Three automaker, my boss had me work closely with the engineers even though I was more of a data analyst. Learning to handle engineering functions allowed me in my current incarnation to be able to place these workers since I could talk more intelligently to prospective employers and employees about the requirements of the job.
With January upon us, reflect on Janus and doorways to new beginnings. Make your New Year’s resolutions in the workplace those that will allow you, your co-workers and employers to really enjoy having you on the team. Let those employers be open to different ways of hiring to overcome talent shortages so that jobs don’t stay open for weeks or even months on end, which affects productivity and profitability. Be determined to let the 2024 New Work World be one that all can enjoy. As the company enjoys the positivity of the workforce, the growth and profits can also be shared by all!
Mary Ann Faremouth
Mary Ann holds a CPC (Certified Personnel Consultant) credential, was certified by the Board of Regents of the National Association of Personnel Consultants in Washington, D.C., and was awarded an Advanced Communicator Bronze, Advanced Leader Bronze Awards by Toastmasters. She cofounded Jobs: Houston magazine in 1997. Mary Ann maintains affiliations with professional organizations, including oil and gas, financial, construction, IT, and structural, mechanical, and civil engineering. (www.faremouth.com)
Mary Ann’s award-winning first book Revolutionary Recruiting has been listed by Book Authority as Number #1 Best 100 Recruiting Books; #1 Best Seller, Non-Fiction, Amazon (2019); Top 20 Recruiting books, Recruitics; Readers’ Choice finalist (2019), Houston Literary Awards; Best Non-Fiction (2018), Best Cover (2019), and Best Self-Help (2018), Authors Marketing Guild. Her books support individuals and corporations, tap into each candidate’s unrealized potential to find the right person for each job, maximizing both employee satisfaction and the employer’s bottom line. Mary Ann showcases her expertise of the recruiting world on a monthly podcast for The Price of Business and weekly articles for USA Business. Her new workbook, Revolutionary Reinvention, was recently released on Amazon. Mary Ann lives in Houston, Texas.