Office Christmas PartiesAhhhh ’tis the season for office Christmas parties…necessary in a way but oh so difficult to pull off appropriately while still having fun and showing appreciation. Office Christmas parties are meant to give your guests (and perhaps their significant others) a nice evening out to show your appreciation for all their hard work this year. And let’s be honest: it’s kind of tacky if you don’t do something to show extra appreciation to your employees. Here’s how to throw a nice office Christmas party for your employees without getting out of hand or being boring.

 

What To Do: This is the trickiest task: doing something fun but simple. First, try taking the party offsite. It will be more fun for your employees to get out of the atmosphere of the office and experience something more interesting. A dinner is a simple, go-to choice for office Christmas parties, but shake up the mold by going for a theatrical performance or a sports event afterward. To make the event more formal, consider a progression dinner at various fine dining establishments throughout your city. Start somewhere for hors d’oeuvres and light drinks followed by a different main dining location and concluding with a dessert location. If you’re interested in holding the event to just one location, choose a restaurant or banquet setting (such as a hotel) with plenty of room to socialize and say a few words of thanks.


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Published on December 7th, 2017

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agricultural careersAs a high school freshman attending my first FFA meeting, I remember glancing toward a classmate I knew lived in town and likely knew nothing about agriculture. I thought, I wonder what she’s doing here. Is she chasing a farm boy? She was a successful and popular student that excelled in all sports; what interest did she have in agriculture? To my surprise, that classmate of mine ended up teaming up with me on soil judging and multiple speaking contests as well as studying both plant science and agribusiness in agricultural education courses alongside me. While she became quite active in the FFA chapter and agricultural classes in high school, her future endeavors eventually led her away from any prospect of an agricultural career.

 

As I sat down to write this blog meant to discuss AgCareers.com’s new Careers in Agriculture E-Book, I couldn’t help but think about my initial judgment of her, thinking she couldn’t possibly have any interest in agriculture or agricultural careers. It’s how I looked at most of my classmates and peers in high school as well as college that weren’t from a farming background, especially at the small liberal arts college I went on to attend (perhaps someone could have labelled me similarly to how I labeled my classmate, after all). But what was stopping me from discussing with them the opportunity of pursuing agricultural careers?


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Published on November 29th, 2017

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holidaysConsider your hectic schedule of holiday parties, gatherings, school events, and preparations for the season. Pile that on top of your already busy work calendar, and the holidays can quickly become overwhelming.
 
How do you remain productive over the holidays?
 
It might be enticing for you to take a bit of a “hiring holiday” at work. Besides recruitment, your HR department is likely knee-deep in planning annual reviews and salary increases for January. Do you really need to continue recruiting during December? YES! Your competitors are actively recruiting, and candidates are still searching.


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Published on November 21st, 2017

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social media to job searchIt’s becoming more difficult than ever to interact with others without someone diverting their attention to their phone to scroll through social media. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram or another site, generations across the board are increasingly engaged on at least one social media platform. However, social media has long outgrown its roots as a place to connect with high school classmates and post pictures of grandchildren. Increasingly users are relying on social media to job search. Job seekers can gain a lot of insight about company culture from the organizations social media presence, and understanding how different generations are using social media during the job search process can help companies leverage their posts and platforms in a meaningful way.

 

Regardless of what generation is interacting with your organization via social media the key is authenticity in representing your company and its culture. Don’t try to be something you’re not to attract a certain audience.


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Published on November 9th, 2017

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personality assessmentsI’m a Blue, a Yellow Hat, an ISFJ. I rank high in responsibility, self-awareness, and conscientiousness. You guessed it, results from a few of the personality assessments I’ve taken in my time. Assessments aren’t for everyone, but personally I find them pretty intriguing and have experienced both personal and team advantages from the intel several have provided.

 
There are so many personality assessments on the market and consultants ready to share the next greatest thing. I’m definitely not bashing on consultants because I do think there is a lot of value in pairing the use of an assessment with guidance of someone that is trained to help you interpret and take advantage of what the results are telling you. However, I think assessments can offer plenty of value out right.

 
We are going to answer the What, When, How and Who of personality assessments! I’m not an expert but base my offerings on personal experiences.


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Published on November 2nd, 2017

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job posting wording that will scare youOh the horror! Of the cliché job posting wording! Seriously, how many job postings have you read that DIDN’T begin with “We’re looking for a self-starter to join our team!”? Working for an outstanding site that offers a job board among our many talent solutions services, I tend to feel like just about every one begins that way. It always strikes me when a job posting uses ridiculous language and overused buzzwords to try to attract applicants when really, it’s doing the exact opposite. So grab a thesaurus or read on for new and improved ways to update your job posting wording:

 

Self-Starter: Let’s get this one out of the way first. I literally feel like I see this buzzword on every other posting I view and it’s getting to be annoying. Pretty sure everyone wants a self-starter, otherwise it would imply that they need a babysitter. And like multitasking, which we’ll get to in a minute, everyone is going to say, “Hey, I’m a self-starter. I should apply to this job!” This is because it’s not a skill or a trait, it’s just a fluffy word that doesn’t have much meaning. Flip the switch here: if you see “self-starter” on a resume, does it really get you fired up about a candidate?

 

Job Posting Wording to Use Instead: Independent, Outgoing, Gear-Shifter, Reliable, Motivated


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Published on October 31st, 2017

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returning from maternity leaveWhile very rewarding, being a mom is hard. Period! When you add working on top of things, that brings about additional challenges. One of the toughest? Transitioning back to work after being on maternity leave. Dads, not leaving you out. I know this transition can be rough on you too. Let’s face it though, I don’t have quite the same perspective on your situation.
 
As a mom of two young children, I’m not far removed from my own transitions back into the workplace after having them. I have my own opinions on maternity (paternity) leave policies in this country and have also been influenced by working with fellow mothers from other countries that have different policies. The truth is, I think there are pros and cons to all. I’m going to share a few tips that helped me and a few things I wish I would have known during that time.
 
1. Know your policies ahead of time. Ideally this would be discussed during the offer/benefits discussion before you are even employed, but not all of us had baby fever when we accepted our jobs. If you are employed and considering starting a family review the company’s policies. Some companies offer a short term supplemental plan in lieu of formal maternity leave. These can have a waiting period before they are able to be used.


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Published on October 26th, 2017

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HR planning

Strategic HR planning is required when implementing operational plans and goals for an organization. The purpose of this HR planning is to determine if an organization has the right people, with the right skills at the right time. Any plan to determine workplace needs and a strategy to support organizational goals consists for a few steps:
 
1. Assessment: The knowledge, skills and abilities of staff needs to be analyzed. This can be accomplished by developing a skills inventory for each employee and listing all education and training. It is helpful to re-examine job descriptions for current employees as well.

 

2. Forecasting: There are many questions that need to be answered at this step.
 
– How many staff will be required to fulfill the plans and goals of the organization?
– What skill sets are required?
– Do your current employees have the required skills?
– Are employees currently using their strengths?


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Published on October 24th, 2017

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competitive compensationIt seems that the world of recruiting is growing increasingly competitive. Because of this more competitive environment, employers are finding themselves in a constant race to up the ante to attract and retain employees. Preliminary results of the 2017-2018 Agribusiness HR Review found that attracting and retaining talent is the current top concern of human resource professionals. The top two methods for combating the ever-increasingly competitive recruiting world is by offering better benefits and higher compensation. Competition for talent means more than offering a bigger paycheck and ice cream on Fridays. In the compensation and benefits arena, employees are interested in a total package of salary and benefits that reward them for the job done, incentivize them to do more, and are offered a solid benefits package.

 

Other insights provided from the HR Review noted that the most common months for reviewing salaries are January and December and increases are commonly implemented in January. As it is already October, now makes the perfect time to start planning how your company plans to compete for today’s talent. Of course, before determining what you will offer, it is important to take closer look at your compensation strategy, or develop one if you haven’t already. Determining what and why you will offer a certain compensation and benefits plan is essential to successful execution. In addition, knowing which benefits and compensation tactics excite your employees can make the difference between a successful compensation and benefits program and an unsuccessful one.


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Published on October 20th, 2017

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delegationThe subject of delegation makes me think of the two distinct reactions that tend to occur in people who are delegating work. The delegator is either ready to shove something off of their plate as quickly as they can, because they can’t get to it (or simply don’t want to), or they are completely blocking any progress in the true transition of the work, because they don’t want to let go. So, before we can dive into the six steps of delegating, I think it’s important to understand the “why” of successful delegation. Check out these two loosely translated definitions of Delegation for a better illustration:

 

Wikipedia: Delegation is the assignment of any responsibility or authority to another person to carry out specific activities.

 

Leadership Training Course: Delegation is giving staff the freedom and authority to handle certain specific matters on their own initiative – with the confidence that they can do the job successfully.

 

Ouch, did that second portion of the leadership definition strike a chord? There is a big difference between true successful delegation and simple task allocation. If we want to successfully delegate, creating an enriching experience all around, we should focus on that second definition. So let’s dive in:


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Published on October 17th, 2017

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