Entry, Mid, Senior: Identifying Your Title

We all have aspirations in our professional lives, no matter how unrealistically or realistically grounded they may be. The first step in understanding how far you’re capable of progress — as well as the level of experience and education required, before they’ll even see you as a viable candidate — is knowing what those much-coveted positions mean. 

When applying for a new position, how do you know you have what they’re looking for? Having ambition beyond your expertise may be noble but applying for jobs you don’t have the qualifications for can lead to that carefully tailored CV being tossed directly into the trash.

Here’s what you need to know about job position titles, what they entail, and how best to advance.

Senior

In this case, it helps to start furthest from where you’d likely first apply — every office or company structures around a pyramid of power with senior positions being the highest level. Several factors determine seniority levels, including length of time spent with the company, experience, and education.

Those in senior-level positions are those with the highest loyalty, experience, and education. Their responsibility is to offer guidance to those at lower levels. The seniors also make decisions affecting other workers, including financial compensation, layoffs, and benefits.

Often, to advance further, employees are required to take exams. Jobs that fall under the senior title include:

  • Executive Director
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Vice President
  • HR Director
  • Head of Advertising
  • Senior Architect

Mid

After gaining experience and time with the company, employees will have a chance to advance to mid-level positions such as:

  • Team Lead
  • Accounting Officer
  • Accounts Manager
  • Regional Manager
  • Project Superintendent 
  • IT Supervisor

Obtaining a mid-level position means being responsible for managing the entry-level employees, while at the same time reporting to and following the instructions of the seniors. Further advancements will lead to mid-senior level positions.

Entry

When first starting with a company, without some extraordinary circumstances, the assumption is you will be starting in an entry-level position like:

  • Junior Marketing Associate
  • Research Assistant
  • Sales Coordinator
  • Cashier
  • Banking Trainee
  • Human Resources Intern

Entry-level positions are likely the first you’ll get after graduating from post-secondary school or even during it.  


Your main goal at entry level is to gain as much experience and education as possible to advance more quickly to jobs with higher salaries. At the same time, you’ll want to prove yourself a loyal and responsible employee who should clearly advance further within the company. 

If the posting is unclear on which job level is being offered, words such as “associate” and “assistant” will usually apply to the entry level. If standard descriptions for job offers don’t apply, your best option would be to research the company or call the HR department.

However, occasions will arise where you honestly may not know the appropriate job level to apply for. Often, people have the experience or education, but may be missing another key factor. If you find yourself on the cusp between two levels, it’s recommended to be bold and apply for the higher position, though you may want to mention that a lower position would be satisfactory.

Kenny Hedges | Contributing Writer

Ways to Promote Kindness at Work

The best thing about kindness is that it spreads. This is why kindness is foundational in creating a workplace environment that welcomes people and invites joy. For the majority of us, the standard 40-hour work week is a lot to contend with. The last thing anyone needs is the added dread, stress, and anxiety of an unhappy workplace. In fact, The Muse reports that happy employees are 12 per cent more productive than unhappy employees. Clearly, there’s profit in treating your employees and co-workers right—and it starts with a just a little bit of kindness. Here are some ways to promote kindness at work.

Greet Each Other With Intention

It’s easy to dive right into the work and get lost in your to-do list. That’s why you’re there, of course. But taking a moment to greet the people on your team or in your office fosters connection and makes people feel valued. The key, however, is to do it with intention. Look the other person in the eye, smile warmly at them and offer a greeting that is genuine and fully present. 

Have Meaningful Conversations

Having meaningful conversations with someone is a great way to make them feel seen, heard, and valued. After all, every workplace is really a collective of people with individual lives and stories—stories that don’t often get a chance to be told. Meaningful conversations open up emotional and intellectual channels of communication that help us truly see each other. The more people get to know each other, the more people begin to feel like a team.

Celebrate One Another

Everyone deserves to be recognized for their work. Celebrating wins, both big and small, makes people feel good about themselves and the work they’re doing. Not only that, celebrating each other’s achievements and efforts helps combat the jealousy, disdain, and resentment that often pervade super competitive workplace environments. 

Practise Gratitude

The truth is that nobody at the workplace accomplishes anything all on their own. The way that gears and cogs in a machine work in tandem to keep things running is the same way lots of individuals in a company work together toward the same goals. Gratitude, which is apparent in small favours such as offering to take the burden of tasks off of someone else in the team, shows that you are appreciative of the people around you. Kindness has a contagious effect—your kind acts might inspire the receiver of your kindness to be kind to someone else—and it could all circle back to you.

Engage in Small Acts Of Kindness

Kind words may be a basic solution, but words are powerful tools. A compliment, a cute message on a post-it, a kindness board—all examples of breathing kindness into the workplace—are small actions that can go the longest way. Not only are words memorable, they can also inspire people to believe in the work they’re doing. Spreading messages of kindness is a great way to make people feel good about themselves and the workplace they’re in.

Jericho Tadeo | Contributing Writer

Millennials 101: How to Keep Them in the Workplace

According to Pew Research Center, the millennial generation encompasses anyone born between 1981 and 1996. From an analysis of UN population data, ManpowerGroup predicted that millennials would have made up a third of the global workforce in 2020. Employers cannot ignore the demands and requirements for millennials in the workplace.

Falsely portrayed as entitled, lazy, uncommitted, and disloyal, millennials are, in truth, highly committed workers who happen to be picky about the work that gives them true fulfillment and finding ideal workplace culture and environments. 

Stats show that 43 per cent of millennials would leave their present job in a period of two years, and 28 per cent would not consider staying at their present job for more than five years. Here are some recommendations to keep them in the workplace.

Competitive Pay and Comprehensive Benefits Structure

For sure, pay matters to everyone, and living without benefits means making hefty cuts on your take-home salaries when any medical needs or emergencies come up. Millennials are mostly content if their salary is comparable to market averages and if the benefit structure is fairly comprehensive. Pay is not enough to keep them in a job; it must be coupled with the following measures.

Feedback

Feedback in bi-annual performance evaluations is severely lacking for millennials, so management must provide more frequent and timely assessments of the millennial employees’ work. Task-based review and feedback are required to keep millennials engaged and confident that their work contributes to the bigger picture. Recognition of their achievements through compliments, or other rewards, is also a necessity.

Learning and Development-Oriented Culture

87 per cent of millennials attribute their professional development to their employers. Companies need to formalize their learning and development programs to fulfill their learning needs, providing frequent in-person or virtual training programs for on-the-job skills or access to virtual training. Furthermore, millennials also seek mentors at work who can guide them in their professional choices and conduct. Given that millennial employees wish to see chances for career progression, it is essential to offer them higher-level skills that can help them advance into managerial positions.

Approachability to the Management

Once a new hire arrives, make them aware that they can reach out to their manager, or even managers above their direct managers, without following a protocol. An open-door communication policy signals that any suggestions, complaints, or tips for improvement are welcome.

Inclusive Hiring and Social Responsibility Programs

This socially conscious generation wants affirmation that their employer respects inclusivity and diversity in its hiring practices, pays heed to giving back to the community, and stays protective of the environment. To attract and keep millennials, it is important to communicate the company’s community efforts and corporate social responsibility programs and its commitments to things like carbon footprint reduction.

Flexible Work Schedules and Arrangements

With the pandemic, millennials who have become accustomed to work-from-home arrangements now demand greater flexibility from their employers. So, if the kind of work allows for such flexibility, it is advisable to accommodate variable schedules and work arrangements to keep millennial employees motivated.

Arslan Ahmed | Staff Writer

Five Ways Women Excel as Leaders

Leadership is the engine that drives activity within organizations and nations. Given that millennials and Gen Z constitute a sizeable portion of the global workforce (21%), according to the International Labour Organization, they have expectations for a flexible workplace with a diverse constitution of senior management. A connected 21st century calls for a new breed of leaders. In the previous centuries, men dominated workplaces and gained leadership roles. However, now more people are open to having either men or women as a boss Moreover, a study by Harvard Business Review (2020) looked at how men and women fared in 19 leadership competencies. The results indicated that women were better than men in 13 of the 19 competencies. Let us look at some ways in which women are excelling as leaders through some of the researched leadership styles.

Transformational

LeadersIn, a UK-based organization that studies leadership, has found through research that women leaders exhibit the transformational style the most. A transformational leader seeks to motivate people to achieve the bigger goals or vision of a company. They encourage self-development as they have full knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of their team members and know how they can inspire others to improve themselves. Such leaders exhibit a high preference for ethical behaviour in dealings with others and support a workplace based on integrity and honesty.

Task-Oriented

Task-oriented leadership is understood as a style that focuses on the tasks that need to be completed to achieve targets or goals. Tasks like planning, scheduling and delegating are given the most importance. According to LeadersIn, both men and women have the capacity for this style. However, women tend to be more democratic and inclusive while managing as a task-oriented leader. Men, on the other hand, are prone to be autocratic while doing so.

Directive

Women, like men, can be directive too when it comes to their leadership style. However, if they act authoritatively and come across as domineering, it usually works against them as some people are not used to seeing women this way. Because of this, they may have to resort to pleasing their subordinates in hopes that they will obey, developing a personality that is a mix of autocratic balanced with interpersonal, democratic and communal aspects. While a style that is modified to meet agreement could be effective still, it is hoped that women who know how to deliver in a directive manner do not have to adapt.

Servant

Servant leadership style is assumed to be present in what is considered to be “feminine” characteristics, such as being less authoritarian, being encouraging of others, foregoing one’s interests over combined interests, advocating the use of shared power and considering interpersonal skills as a way to influence others. This mindset realizes that going far in work requires the support of others.

Transpersonal

Transpersonal is a fairly recent style of leadership, coined by the organization LeaderShape, that means going beyond the ego. It places types of intelligences in a hierarchy based on the ability to develop them: intellectual at the lowest rung, emotional in the middle and ethical at the highest level. Transpersonal leaders operate on well-respected ethical, emotional and cognitive principles. Such leaders believe in exemplifying ego-levelling behaviour and coaching others to help them improve themselves professionally. They also care about the moral aspects of their actions and decisions and try and instill the same sense within their organizations.

There has certainly been a radical change in the concept of a leader from someone who just gets the work done, using whatever method suits the situation, to someone who knows how to get the work done using the most positive, uplifting, inclusive and reformational method to do so.

Arslan Ahmed | Staff Writer

How to Handle Feedback as a Leader

It’s impossible to get to the top – or anywhere else for that matter – without listening to suggestions or advice. When you’re put in charge of a team, it’s not because you’re perfect, but because direction is needed. But you can’t lead your team to success while operating in a vacuum; feedback is key.

A leader is responsible for making sure that their business has satisfied employees just as much as satisfied customers or clients. And there’s no better way to do that than by having a staff that feels empowered to speak openly and honestly.

But how does the person at the top learn how to listen to the people they’re charged with overseeing? Here’s a look at how to handle feedback as a leader while not taking it personally.

 

Think It Through

We’re often told not to be emotional at work, but most of us spend so much time at our jobs that it’s nearly impossible not to be. Whether you’re laughing at the water cooler (which fosters important bonds that strengthen collaboration) or having a disagreement, emotions are part of the job. But if there’s one time that you need to think more than feel, it’s that brief moment between hearing feedback and reacting to it. Take a moment to really listen to what the person is telling you, process it, and then frame your response in a professional manner, and as a leader it’s even more important to maintain control of your emotions. Remember, neither of you is trying to escalate the problem, you’re both working on a solution.

 

It’s Not About You

If you thought about your reply before reacting, then you likely know that the feedback, at least in most cases, isn’t personal. When people complain or express their concerns, it’s normally not for the sake of creating a problem; it’s often rooted in something, and as a leader it’s crucial to keep that in mind. It’s important for a manager to know how their workers feel and what they think of the business and how it’s doing. In a healthy work environment, what the staff is saying shouldn’t be seen as a personal attack, so there’s no reason to feel defensive or threatened.

 

Ask Questions

When receiving feedback, it’s important to ask yourself certain questions. Is there merit to what’s being said? Does the person have a point? Getting some constructive criticism should be seen as a learning opportunity, since no one is perfect. Debating each point raised will get you nowhere, and it can be exhausting, while also likely discouraging that person or others from providing more in the future. If the feedback is given respectfully and supported by evidence, then it’s important to reflect on it and find a solution. The point is to resolve the issue and grow, both as a business and a team. Take employee feedback at face value, instead of assuming that they’re wrong or being troublesome.

 

Say ‘Thank You’

Have you thanked your team, lately? When presented with good ideas, it’s important to give credit where credit is due. Taking ideas from your subordinates is never a good option and will likely lower morale and foster a hostile environment. The amount of good ideas coming from your team can actually be seen as a result of strong leadership; it’s not a competition. If you’re hearing good suggestions for how to improve the business, remember to thank those responsible – preferably in front of the rest of the team – and let them know they’re valued.

Managing a team isn’t easy, especially if it’s a group with different personalities working towards the same goal. Whether you’re giving feedback or receiving it, it’s always best to ask yourself why it’s needed and how it will help improve things. Letting others voice their opinions comes with the job, and it will make you a better leader and manager to simply listen.

 

Dontei Wynter | Contributing Writer

 

Bridging the Management Age Gap

Millennials are known as the generation of smartphones, over-priced coffee, and a reputation for entitlement and leisureliness. Despite this, the success of millennials is becoming increasingly apparent in the workplace. Look around your office and you’ll probably notice the ages of both employees and managers is decreasing significantly. A recent survey by office-equipment maker Pitney Bowes found that about 20% of mid-level corporate employees now report to a boss who is younger than they are.

However, in this age of entrepreneurial startups and advancing technology, different work styles and perceptions of those differences can create many challenges. For example, there is a stark difference between millennials and baby boomers. While older workers spend more time in the office within regular work hours, the younger generation often prefers getting their work done whenever, whether at home or from their laptop in a café. These kinds of philosophical differences can have negative effects on productivity. However, there are ways for younger people in authority to handle this gap. Below are a few tips on how to instill authority and respect in the workplace.

Be Mindful

Older employees can certainly be put off by having to report to a younger manager. It’s important to be aware of those feelings and acknowledge them. Don’t assume you have the upper hand due to your higher position. Express an interest in your employee and ask them for their opinions on how you can improve as a leader. They may very well have insights that can benefit you, and they will appreciate your respect for their experience and knowledge.

Give and Take

Give lessons, provide feedback, and offer firm and feasible guidelines for your employees. In return, take feedback as well. Older employees are often more knowledgeable about the company and its history. Take advantage of their deeper well of experience, both in the office and generally in life.

Do Your Job

It can be daunting being a young manager. However, instead of shying away from being an authoritative, strong leader, it’s important to keep your goals in mind and get the job done. Not confronting older employees who aren’t working to their full potential, or letting others take the lead merely to make them more comfortable, will only decrease productivity. You’re the manager for a reason; prove why.

Older employees should implement these tips in the workplace as well. Along with being mindful, providing feedback, and doing their own jobs, it’s important for older employees not to get too bogged down in ego and commit to working with a younger manager. The knowledge and experience of the older generation and fresh perspective and energy of the younger age group can be combined to contribute to the workplace in a positive manner. Getting past age discrimination – from both sides – will help everyone work together and be more productive.

 

Tasnia Nasar

How to Handle an Employee Gone Rogue

You know that person at the office who seems to consider themselves above the rules? That’s a rogue employee. But sometimes, rogue behaviour isn’t as obvious. Someone may openly disobey policies or disrespect management, or a seemingly perfect worker may be committing serious offences in secret, such as stealing company data, pilfering money, spying on behalf of a competitor, or sabotaging their colleagues.

There are ways to detect a rogue employee early. It’s can be the person you demoted because they no longer seemed to be the ideal fit for the role they were hired for. Or the member of the management team that consistently ignores company policies or the opinions of others when making changes. If their rogue behaviour has already been identified, they’re likely already on the bubble – one more misstep and they’re out. But before firing them, it’s best to consider the value they bring. Discuss the employee’s overall performance with other managers and HR. If they haven’t caused a high level of offence, determine whether you want to give them a chance to change.

In the meantime, there are ways you can prevent rogue employees from inflicting damage on the organization by limiting and monitoring their access to information. Use identity and access management (IAM) software to increase security. With IAM software, you can regulate the amount of access employees have to pertinent data and files depending on their role. Look for software that records login information and activity for each user, allows them to update their own profiles, and can handle a large volume of users in the system without compromising performance.

If it’s a disrespectful employee you’re dealing with, evaluate how you position yourself as a manager: are you too lenient with the person in question? Do you allow them to break certain rules? Are they doing whatever they want? If you tolerate a workspace in which certain people can behave this way while others can’t, then you’re the problem. But whether you’ve been unwittingly encouraging such behaviour or not, reexamine the way you treat all employees. Reimplement the company values and the most important policies. Present these policies and guidelines clearly, as outlined in the employment agreement, to everyone.

Fellow coworkers can help handle a rogue colleague and spot other potential threats if they’re trained in detecting rogue behaviour. For example, if an employee notices their colleague taking frequent trips to the photocopier or printer when their job doesn’t really require, there’s a possibility the employee is stealing company info or using the machine for personal things. A properly-trained employee could ask their coworker about the issue (their frequent use of a machine); maybe their colleague is stealing proprietary company secrets, delivering that information to a competing business or using it for their own entrepreneurial project. Keeping employees aware of these sorts of issues will increase awareness and create a more stable and secure work environment. If anybody feels disrespected by a fellow colleague or is suspicious of their conduct, they should feel empowered to report them.

Speaking of corporate espionage, you may want to do some digging yourself. Take a look at the rogue employee’s social media channels. Ensure they’re abiding by the organization’s social media policy and aren’t bad-mouthing the company (and/or its affiliates or partners), especially after a significant incident like a demotion or another disciplinary issue. This would be detrimental to brand image and cause distrust among your customers, which is obviously bad for business.

– Joséphine Mwanvua
 

Business photo created by yanalya – www.freepik.com

Silicon Valley’s Rest and Vest Culture is Real

It would be lovely to go to the office and not have to work. Even better to swim, play volleyball and drink beer while there. This isn’t the stuff of fantasy; rather, it’s a new breed of wealthy tech engineers who are playing hard instead of working hard, and they’re doing it on the company’s dime.

 

They are the Rest and Vest bunch, as seen most recently on the hit HBO comedy Silicon Valley. On that show, characters working for fictional tech firm Hooli (a Google analogue), hang out on the office rooftop and guzzle brews while waiting out their contracts or waiting on a big merger or takeover.

In real life, these tech workers are indeed paid insane amounts of money, sometimes millions, to essentially use the office as their own personal play area. The online slang dictionary describes the phenomenon as, “at a place of employment, to do little work while waiting for one’s stock options to vest.”

As Business Insider reports, Microsoft has enabled or encouraged this kind of activity. They’ve sought out niche experts in burgeoning industries, such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing, and offer a generously increasing bonus, called “discretionary equity”, to ensure these employees don’t migrate to another company. In the interim, they can still be university professors or do other lucrative work, all while continuing to collect these “discretionary” bonuses concurrently.

One tech expert who has worked with Microsoft, Intel, and Sony, says there’s a perfectly good explanation for this sort of arrangement.

 

“Competition for great resources is fierce in Silicon Valley, and with the [US] ‘travel ban’ legislation in play, companies’ abilities to recruit and retain the best talent are going to become even more difficult,” notes Lori Schwartz, principal of Story Tech, a Los Angeles-based agency that uses evolving technology to help businesses find strategic solutions. “So it becomes a strategic imperative to get and keep ‘talent’, however necessary, close by.”

 

Tenured employees at tech companies, meanwhile, are doing their own version of playing at the office. They’re coasting through their work – when they bother to do it – knowing that they’re so valued, the company wouldn’t dare let them go. These are the “coasters”, a subset of the Rest and Vest crowd.

But what about the swimming, volleyball, and other fun at the office playground? That’s also abundant and real. All the largest tech firms – Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Facebook, Oracle – offer some variety of carnival-like amenities for employees.

 

Oracle has beach volleyball and a swimming pool; Microsoft boasts Xboxes for its staff, an on-site spa, and fields for cricket or soccer among its “benefits”; Google offers free massages, yoga and a rock climbing wall; and Mark Zuckerberg wouldn’t let his Facebook hires go a day without opening up the video arcade, the foosball or ping-pong tables. (Employees at the social media giant also get three weeks of paid vacation and unlimited sick days.)

And why even go home, when Google, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all offer unlimited free food throughout the day?

No surprise, then, that Rest and Vest techies are hardly in short supply at these Fortune 500s, indulging in Silicon Valley’s version of an indoor Coney Island fairway.

Few companies, however, will admit outwardly to grooming the Rest and Vest practice. Band reputation is everything, and no company will risk its brand by allowing employees to talk to the press about this part of tech culture.

Though companies are loath to admit they have these kinds of employees on payroll, they do exist. And some aren’t happy about the practice.

 

“I do understand some of the motivations behind ‘Rest and Vest’, particularly the interest of some companies in keeping ‘top talent’ out of the general job marketplace,” notes Jerrold Landau, a 27-year employee of a global tech company’s Toronto office. “But it goes against everything that my company stands for, and likely, that many other companies stand for.”

 

But these engineers can’t all just be playing Xbox, or there would be no innovations or development. In the looser definition of Rest and Vest are employees who know they can indulge in playtime, so long as they complete what’s expected of them.

Though not exactly sitting on a rooftop drinking beer, Doron Nadivi could, in theory, do that while working. He’s the VP of business, development and growth hacker of Pruvo Net Ltd. – and he’s 10,000 kilometres away from his boss. Nadivi is in Costa Rica, while his company is based in Tel Aviv, Israel.

 

“I can tell you that as long as I provide results, he could care less how many hours I work, rest, vacation, etc.,” he explains. “Results are the name of the game, at least in the eyes of CEOs that understand efficiency over effort-action.”

 

But there is a hidden downside to this lax approach to work that some Rest and Vest tech workers are learning the hard way, primarily when the time comes to move to another job.

Their position and title may have some impressive clout, but when an interviewer or headhunter asks what kinds of things they did while at Google, “played ping-pong and drank beer on the rooftop” is not the best answer.

 

Dave Gordon | DBPC Blog

Photo credit: Haldane Martin