Join the Community of Practice for MN Government Business Architecture.
This free community of practice meets once a month. The community consists of those who are in the role of business architect or are using business architect techniques in their work AND work for a Minnesota city, county, or state agency.
The community provides an informal opportunity to seek solutions to questions and support others as they apply the craft of business architecture. The community acknowledges that while most of business architecture concepts apply to government work, finding the way through sometimes requires some extra finagling.
Email IPD if interested, and they will connect you with the group.
Employers are dealing with exiting employees and being told employee engagement leads to retention, but is this a lot of mumbo jumbo?
by Beth Schaefer
“Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?
If I go, there will be trouble….
And If I stay it will be double…”
by, ironically enough, The Clash
If you have been reading The Great Resignation/Transformation series, you have already done the following to assess your current career situation:
- Researched that The Great Resignation has created demand for your job
- Determined what you want out of a role (12 Questions to Define Your Career Wants and Needs)
- Calculated the potential to gain more salary, fringe benefits, or intangible job satisfaction elsewhere (Use this form to tally your current benefits)
- Ascertained if your burnout is directly related to your current organization (Quiz: Do You Work for a Toxic Organization?)
And based off that analysis, you have determined that your career is best served by making a move to a new organization.
In addition to the assessments listed above, take these additional actions to ensure a smooth career move:
- Research compensation for the role you want in the area/region you wish to work.
- Define your “workplace self.”
Take 15 minutes every Friday to write down what parts of your job that week were the most satisfying.
- Watch for patterns so you can look for more of that type of work in your new role.
- Use this information to craft questions you can ask when an employer says, “What do you need to know about us?”
- And, if asked, “What do you like about your current role?” you will be ready for that too.
Do the list of 3’s. For each of the following questions, write down your top 3:
- What 3 things about the work you do now generate passion and excitement?
- What are your top 3 technical skills?
- What 3 adjectives would your co-workers use to describe you?
- What are your top 3 workplace skills or fields of expertise?
- What are your 3 biggest workplace contributions in the past year?
3. Craft your story even though your resume is a necessary tool; it is not your whole story.
Look at the parts that make-up your whole:
- You are not just your job title.
- Look at your history of projects; see how they add to your story.
- Look at who is in your network; see how they connect to tell your story.
- Create a list of work anecdotes that demonstrate your desirable co-worker traits that will to transfer to any situation or role.
4. Build your brand about your “workplace self” using your story pieces.
Sum up your story:
- Write your 1-paragraph career story.
- Write your 1-sentence brand or elevator speech.
- Make sure all your social media platforms use those pieces to align with the professional image you want to project.
5. Stay visible.
As much as you can, make sure the work you do at your current role reflects your brand.
- That will ensure that those you work with can verify your self-assessment and provide positive recommendations.
- While searching for your new role, keep your list of successes updated and ensure that your profile in your cover letters and resume match.
6. Make friends.
Make sure you are liked by bosses, coworkers, clients and customers.
- They will be contacted for references.
- Help people.
- Worry about results, not credit.
- Be nimble and efficient.
- Be positive about your work and the organization.
7. Reintroduce yourself.
Broaden your circle outside your department, division, and organization.
- This next ring of influential spheres may have shrunk during the pandemic- much more than you realize – while you were hanging out at home in your elastic pants…
Find an authentic reason to reach out to those you have lost touch with – both in and out of the organization:
- “I saw this conference/webinar/new restaurant, and I thought you might like it”
- “Someone shared this article/template/software with me, and I thought you might find it valuable”
- “I am back in the office; are you? Let’s grab some lunch/coffee/HH”
- “ I see your job changed during the pandemic; I would love to connect and hear about your new role.”
- “Congratulations on your new promotion…”
Tap your people to influence decision-makers for the roles you hope to get.
8. Expand your network.
Block time each week to send invites to your network of people for longer conversations.
- Write an email.
- Send a text.
- Make a phone call.
- Message through LinkedIn.
Make a goal of conducting a networking conversation each week.
- To prepare for these conversations, prepare a list of questions to ask the other person about themselves; you do not need to talk about yourself.
- They will remember the feeling of your conversation, not what you said.
- Run out of people? Make a grid. Across the top, list all the categories of people you have: kid’s sports teams/activities, volunteer work, neighbors, relatives, friends, retired coworkers, college buddies, etc. List 10 people under each category. Repeat when you run out of people.
9. Maintain your emotional well-being
- For strategies to maintain emotional well-being at work, see the Blog: Return-to-Work Phobia
And, if you are leaving BEFORE you have your next role, consider doing these actions too:
10. Be productive with your time out of work: take a part-time job, travel, execute a DIY project, or take a class. These types of actions will help you:
- Keep a schedule so that returning to work will be a smooth transition.
- Practice desired work skills, such as project management.
- Demonstrate dedication to a schedule or self-improvement.
- Say fun and interesting things in an interview.
- Provide additional references for your potential new employer.
11. Plan your finances so that you have some money to live on during your transformation.
- If you leave without a new role lined up, plan on 5 months to get a new job, but have 6 – 12 months of expenses saved.
- If you are attempting to try out new roles, have some funds to pay into health insurance if not covered by your temporary agency.
- Even if you are moving from one role directly to another, you may have some transitional expenses such as health insurance payments to bridge between the roles.
For additional information, check out the references used for this article.
While a record number of people are leaving their jobs (see the series introductory article: Is The Great Resignation Time for Your Career Transformation?), you may not have to leave to get a better deal.
Because so many people are leaving, this may be a good time to negotiate a new situation at your current organization.
Here are 10 steps to improve your current work situation:
Step 1: Know what you want
Visit the article Should I Stay or Should I Go? The Great Resignation Transformation to answer 12 questions to figure out what you want from your career and the organization you work for.
Step 2: Know what you are worth
Make sure you are armed with information about the market for your occupation. When people are in a role for a long time at the same organization, they can lose touch with the “market” for that role. Occupations are influenced by the laws of supply and demand. Understand the supply for your occupation for your region (or broader if you can work virtually). Do the math to fully understand how many openings or the percentage of vacancies for your role. Also, research the going pay rate for your role. Be aware of what others at your organization are paid for similar work. Be aware of the rate you would be paid for starting that role at another organization. Remember to calculate benefits into the equation.
Step 3: Prepare your campaign
While you are not running for office, you do need to build your platform. Do not assume that your hard work, dedication, or achievements have been noted or recorded. Again, do your homework. Compile a list of your projects, achievements, impact. Did you carry the workload of others who were missing due to family or health reasons? Get that on the list. Did you implement a process to save the company money? Add it to the list. Did you win an award for customer service? Put it on the list. Go back through evaluations, coworker emails, and customer feedback and compile all the positive comments. Have “data” to support the good work you do.
Step 4: Start your campaign
Research continues to show that engaged employees are much more productive than other employees. When you are in meetings, on phone calls, interacting with customers, be positive about your role and your organization. Make sure that others know how much you like your job and indicate your interest in continuing to work for your current organization. Have a conversation with your boss and your boss’s boss (informal or formal) and make sure they know that you are interested in a clear plan to keep moving your career forward in their organization. If you can, ditch tasks that do not contribute to your plan and take on tasks and projects that demonstrate your interests and abilities for your defined career path.
Step 5: Step up
Even though there is a worker supply deficit, be ready to take on more responsibility to get more salary and benefits. With several openings, this is a good time to look at the next org. chart layer and find a role that you want. Suggest the change as a win/win to your leadership. Provide the career path you mapped out within your organization or work with your leadership to build a path to that role if you need some more experience or skills to take that step. Most likely, they will want to work with you and develop you to keep you – a known reliable quantity — rather than take their chances on an unknown hire. The important element is to make sure they know that you want to stay, achieve, and succeed.
Step 6: Seek and take professional development
Whether it is free through your company, or free through others, like the IPD Expert Insights webinars, putting these on your calendar will show others that you are interested in learning and moving forward. In addition, good training will also infuse your creativity and self-reflection while increasing your skills and abilities.
Step 7: Create the win/win vision
While you do want to make sure that changes to your role are in your best interest, they must be framed in a win for the organization as well. Do not come across threatening, “Meet my demands or I am outa here!” You want to use your stakeholder management skills to collaboratively craft changes that are mutually beneficial. Even if you are ready to leave if the organization falls short of your ask, you do not want your attitude to burn reference bridges or tarnish your reputation after all your hard work for the organization.
Step 8: Be ready to ask for exactly what you want
Especially here in the Midwest, we are not inclined to use direct language—either when touting our worth or when asking for what we feel is fair compensation. Do not hint; be prepared to state out right what you need. Also, be ready to negotiate your initial ask. If you want more than a higher salary or if you know that more money will be tough to get, be ready to ask for better benefits or for working conditions that will suit your work/life balance better. Take the Evaluate Your Employee Benefits Assessment to build the package that you want. Prioritize what you want. And know your “deal-breaking points” and what you are willing to let go of to stay.
Step 9: Create joy and happiness at work
Experts tell you that true joy is generated through fulfilling a purpose. If you want to stay with your organization, find ways to connect your work to your personal purpose, personal values and personal mission statement. Purpose and joy are not dependent on the everyday flow of good and bad moments, but transcends them. However, happiness is OK too. Find ways to have fun each day. Take your breaks so that you stay energized and productive. Be a co-worker that others want to work with.
Step 10: Find Balance
A natural instinct can be to work long hours and take on extra work to prove your worth to your organization. While most people have moments where their job requires that extra effort, consistently working longer hours does not usually lead to recognition or reward by the organization. Some roles, like sales, may be structured that way, but for most of us, working unreasonable hours only leads to burn out – which is not beneficial to you or the organization. Find outside interests for your time that will provide additional recognition and reward.
Managing your own career maturity is not that different from managing your work projects and operations. Take stock, figure out the gaps, and put a plan in place to close the gaps that move the needle on maturing your career.
For additional information, check out the references used for this article.
The Great Resignation Is On!
This series of blogs studies the impact through the personal lens of your career ladder.
Before making any big decisions about your career, take a beat to assess your current working situation. Some of you may be saying, “I just spent the whole pandemic doing that!” Perhaps.
Evaluation is an important step because if you do not understand your current situation or what you want, you may go through a lot of change to end up in the exact same situation. Or… you could land in a situation where you are worse off.
Current research indicates that 40% of people who leave an organization boomerang back around and rejoin it. Therefore, before putting yourself through the emotions of change that go along with endings and beginnings, it is good to give the decision some thorough consideration.
Just as we teach in our business architecture courses, you need to understand the customer (you) and define the current state before you can assess gaps and make future plans.
Before making a move, evaluate:
- Your reasons for leaving
- Your current organization’s culture
- The total benefits and upsides of your current situation
Why Do You Want To Leave?
Before making any decisions about leaving, you should make sure you understand what you are seeking that you are not finding in your current work situation. Answer these 12 questions to determine the “why” behind your desire to depart.
- Am I seeking a new boss? If so, what traits am I looking for in a boss or organizational leadership?
- Am I seeking better benefits? Is so, specifically what benefits do I want?
- Am I leaving because I am burned out? How would a new organization rejuvenate me and prevent me from burning out again?
- Am I leaving because I feel my role is being eliminated? How do I ensure my next role would not disappear?
- Do I want a different work location? Do I want to go into the office instead for working from home? Do I want to work from home? Do I want a shorter commute? Do I need a job closer to my daycare?
- Do I want an organization that values me more in terms of appreciating and recognizing the work I do?
- Do I need a role with a clear career ladder and professional development to help me keep moving forward?
- Would I like more mentoring and coaching?
- Would I like to make more money? What is my range?
- Do I want a role that increases my responsibility or decreases my level of responsibility?
- Do I want to be a supervisor or manager, or would I prefer an informal leadership role?
- Have I learned something about work/life balance during the pandemic? Do I need to adjust to my work life to strike that balance permanently?
After answering the questions, consider how far away you are from the ideal role you seek. If there are just a few items that miss the mark, can you have a conversation with your current employer to get those items aligned to your needs so that you do not need to leave?
Is It My Organizational Culture?
Do not underestimate the role that culture plays in your job satisfaction. In recent Great Resignation surveys, toxic culture was listed 10 times more than compensation as a reason to leave.
Your workplace culture is the shared values, beliefs, and attitudes of the people who work there. The workplace culture is heavily influenced by leadership’s actions, the organization’s stated mission and values, and most importantly, if those 2 things are consistent. Is the organization and its leaders doing what they say they are going to do? Are they putting resources towards the values they promise to deliver? Once there is disconnect between “the talk” and “the walk,” it opens the culture door for lack of trust and disrespect that can permeate the entire organization. This can make for a miserable work situation.
It is really difficult to fix an organizational culture situation, but The Great Resignation may provide you the opportunity to seek work elsewhere and leave it behind rather than staying trapped.
What Are My Benefits?
If you have worked in a sector or with one organization for a long time, it is easy to think that all organizations offer the same perks and benefits as your current one. That is not the case – especially if you are switching across government, corporate, and nonprofit organizations. For example, I have worked in education for my entire career; I am still surprised when my corporate-employed friends talk about how they will spend year-end bonuses that equal 1 – 3 months’ salary for me (or more). Oh, that’s right, some corporate jobs get bonuses; very few government jobs offer any bonuses.
Without careful examination, you may discover that you have taken a perk for granted, and the ones that you used and valued the most are not present in the new job. And, in the worst case scenario – your salary increase disappears to pay for benefits that you no longer receive!
Use this form to tally your current benefits and make sure you understand your financial perks.
Now that you have your current situation defined and you know what you seek, the next 2 articles will give some tips for closing that gap by staying or by leaving.
For more information on this topic, see the list of articles used in the research.
To coincide with the IPD Expert Insights free webinar series on transforming the workplace using the Modernization Playbook, I thought I should take a look at workplace transformation on a personal level. For the first time in quite a while, workers are in demand so it stands to reason that they in a position to force their employers to “do better,” not only on compensation, but on benefits, working conditions, and even employee engagement.
America is in the midst of The Great Resignation: I found plenty of statistics that confirmed this, but this set paints the picture quickly and clearly:
- 24 million Americans quit their jobs between April and September 2021
- 4 million Americans quit their jobs in September
- 5 million Americans quit their jobs in November
- Vacant jobs are still setting records with December 2021 showing 10.9 million openings in the U.S.
Since many of these departures were related to the pandemic and people not wanting to be in roles required to interact in-person, it is not surprising that as the economy recovers, current demand has risen for Industries related to travel, hospitality, and recreation.
However, the shift in how America works has also created vacancies in software and IT services, corporate services, and finance.
A MarketWatch article cited statistics from Glassdoor after it released its annual 50 Best Jobs in America for 2022. The IT field was on top – actually taking all top 10 spots. Enterprise Architect was in the #1 spot. You can make $144,997 annually and with 14,021 job openings, you can probably find something to meet your work/life balance needs. Think of the value-add you bring to an IT role if you added some business architecture to your resume!
Not wanting to do IT? Some non-tech jobs in the top 50 included: HR Manager (#13), Corporate Recruiter (#17) and HR Business Partner (#39). Also all roles that would benefit from business architecture training.
When I started on the topic of career transformation, I was going to write one article; however, I found so much information that I decided to write a series instead. The Career Transformation Series will help you assess your own career situation and provide some possible actions steps for you to take so that you capitalize on The Great Resignation.
Beth Schaefer, Director
IPD at Metro State
Evaluating Your Current Organization and Situation
This article will include information about evaluating your current work culture, the signs for departing, and a workplace asset assessment.
Using The Great Resignation to Transform Your Current Situation
If you decide to stay, this article will focus on the steps you should take to move your career forward, including tips for negotiating better compensation, steering for a promotion, and building your personal career brand.
Leveraging The Great Resignation to Make a Career Change
If you decide to go, this article will provide resources for casting a wide net, preparing for a career transition, and ensuring you negotiate compensation in line with your worth.
If you are interested in researching on your own, check out this list of resources to get started.
Are you in need of a New Year’s Resolution, or a Performance Goal?
If you are as old (mature) as I am, you will remember the craze around a little book by Robert Fulghum entitled All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten.
Now, we have the 2021 version of that book: The Beatles: Get Back documentary. The documentary itself does not call out or highlight lessons, but you can find tons of social media lists that discuss how this documentary is a playbook for production and creativity.
Turns out, the The Beatles not only Get Back; but they also got your back, too.
Here is a Baker’s dozen on lessons for productivity/creativity/problem solving that you can use for self-reflection.
Take a look at the list, pick one lesson you can improve on, and make it your 2022 Resolution!
1.Wait To Speak.
When brainstorming, one person speaks at a time; listening is more important than speaking.
2. Be Silly.
If you do not speak up with an idea because you are scared of looking stupid or silly, your best ideas will never get put into action.
3. Be Silly (Yes, Again).
Have fun with the people you are collaborating with. Humor only helps productivity – moments of levity can spark creativity.
4. Always Say, “Yes.” Or, Maybe “Yes, And…”
Do not dismiss the ideas of others – especially, if you do not have an alternative idea to suggest. “That is a good idea, and we could also…”
5. Let It Be Go
If you keep bringing up an idea that no one else can embrace, let it go and move onto the next idea. (See me demonstrating silliness here with my word play on a Beatles song?).
6. Do not seek perfection.
Rather than revising and revising and revising until you have the perfect product, just get something going. Build the skateboard, then the bike, then the motorcycle, and then the car.
7. Embrace accidents
(Like Covid?) and build on the directions they take you.
8. Eat and drink.
The science is right. If you do not take time to stay hydrated and fuel your body, your problem solving will suffer.
9. Give credit.
If someone else has the winning idea, give that person their kudos for it.
10. Switch gears.
If something is not coming together, move onto another idea or project and circle back with fresh eyes and thoughts.
11. Try it out.
Even if something does not seem quite right, try it for awhile to confirm it’s not right, or to see how you can improve it.
12. Respect others.
Even if someone in the group is less experienced or seldom speaks up, their perspective is valuable (or even more valuable) for its lens and freshness.
Taters, Turkey, and TP Anyone? Worried about shortages in holiday gathering supplies? Now, more than ever, business architecture has a role to play.
This month we are featuring a free webinar on how to solve problems so that you do not need to solve them again.
So, I took a quick look out on the world wide web, to see what obstacles people are facing to getting problems solved – especially as many of us are in transition from remote working to being back in the office.
Turns out that, at least at a high-level, it does not matter if you are remote or in the office or somewhere in between. The obstacles seem to be the same.
- Lack of communication and sharing of information
- Lack of long-term thinking
- Silos, and along with that, not having everyone moving towards the same goal or in the same direction
- People who seem uninterested in engaging in problem-solving
Depending on the survey or article, these will change in order, but they remain quite consistent.
Consider this – do you have a process to solve problems? Defining a problem-solving process and reflecting on how to make it better each time you finish solving a problem will help you address these four obstacles.
We are interested in hearing from you. Take a minute to answer our survey question. We will share the results in our webinar on August 25th.
What can leaders can do to ease the fear of returning to work after Covid?
Many people are dreading the return to work: the commute, unnecessary in-person meetings, sitting a cubicle, eating lunch at their desk…
For over a year, public health messaging has been that the safest place to be is your home, so it is hard to turn off that messaging just because your cubicle wants you back. Only 44% of workers are comfortable going to a workplace outside their homes. 2/3 thirds have anxiety over returning to work.
Some of the reasons for this anxiety are:
- Fear of infection
- Many households have someone who is vulnerable to Covid due to underlying health issues
- In the midst of grieving
- 600,000+ people died of Covid, which means many more of us are still adjusting to life without a family member compared to a non-pandemic time
- Distrust of medical institution recommendations
- Changing science recommendations as we learned more about the virus, plus a history of inadequate care for Black and Brown people, lead some to distrust any recommendations, including the Covid vaccine
- Daycare shortage
- Many in-home daycares went out of business, and large centers are having trouble hiring staff
- Isolation = depression
- The isolation needed for the pandemic could have led to undiagnosed or unidentified depression, so for some, anxiety about returning to work may be a symptom of something larger
- Resistance to change
- Always a certain percentage of people who just do not want change or are not sure what they want their post-pandemic normal to be – Read more about this in the article Yes, We are There! Or Are We There Yet?
Many people are voting with their feet by leaving jobs that are requiring them to transition back to the cube lifestyle and choosing jobs that offer a more flexible hybrid model or to not work at all.
While many decisions about the transition back to the office are made by the organization, many of those decisions focus on the physical environment: protective plexiglass, higher cube walls, new barriers, mask rules, installation of numerous sanitizer dispensers, reduced room occupancy rate, temperature screenings, etc.
This means that supervisors and managers need to focus on the emotional needs and recognize the true trauma that many faced and are still facing because of the pandemic. While many leaders may feel that handling staff emotions falls outside their roles, research will tell you that that employees who feel their concerns and well-being are being addressed by employers are far, far less likely to seek new employment. And, having flexible policies to accommodate the transition will help you hire all those people leaving their inflexible roles.
Five Actions for Leaders to Manage Return-to-Work Phobia After Covid
- Proactively address concerns with your individual team members:
- When you sense or hear statements that relate to Return-to-Work anxiety, have a conversation with the person and ask that person to bring the root cause and suggestions for addressing it to you.
- If someone proactively brings up concerns, be honest and sincere about finding solutions within the organization’s policies.
- Remind employees about Employee Assistance Programs.
- Encourage employees to know and pay attention to their own stress warnings: clenched jaw, quick breathing, fidgeting, neck or shoulder pain, etc.
- Rethink your communication plan:
- Clearly communicate the organization’s return-to-work expectations to your staff. Even if the organization sends a mass message, reiterate what that means for your team.
- If the organization’s expectations are not clear to you, request more communication from your own leadership.
- Update frequently. We are still in a time of new information and new guidelines; keep updating as necessary.
- If you have some people still working from home, make sure you include them in all communications. One of the biggest complaints from remote workers is lack of information from their leaders.
- Consider daily check-ins with staff, not on work getting done, but on how they are feeling. Keep your finger on the pulse of their health, families’ health needs, caregiving to extended family, changes in daycare and school situations. Let people know that it is OK to not feel OK.
- Experiment on working models, if you can:
- If you do not need to nail down a new working model, take time now to try out different modes, schedules, and combinations to find the one that works best for your team.
- Offer the option of an iterative change back to the office.
- Invite your staff to provide suggestions and feedback on a creating a safe workspace to add a sense of control.
- Be prepared for special accommodations, flexible work time, modified work schedule. If in a union environment, also pay attention to contract constraints, and know that accommodations for one person without official paperwork, may need to extend to all.
- Be flexible and realistic with expectations. Even though people are returning to the familiar, it is still a change, and normal change curve phases (Denial, Resistance, Acceptance, Commitment) will apply.
- Be optimistic:
- Optimism, joy, gratitude, and humor can spread the same way that fear and anxiety is spread.
- Reinstate the fun aspects of being in the office together. Celebrations, ordering lunch in, wearing jerseys for game days, etc.
- Consider how to virtually loop in those who work from home to have fun too.
- Give your team time to interact without you. Colleagues are more excited about seeing each other than they are for more face-time with their boss.
- Focus on wellness for yourself (and encourage your staff to do the same):
- As always, practice a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, and get some exercise.
- Fear can weaken your immune system. Eliminate or limit activities that increase anxiety, such as:
- Watching a news show (look for 5- minute news summary option)
- Having conversations that only focus on negativity and fear
Using these 5 strategies can help you reduce your concern and the concerns of your staff as you transition back to the workplace.
After a Year of Remote Life, New Anxiety Emerges; Returning to Work by Paul Caine from PBS in Chicago
Back to the Office Anxiety? How to Keep Your Fears in Check by Dr. Margie Warrell from Forbes
Child Care Crisis will Linger After Pandemic by Pat Baustian and Heidi Omerza from Star Tribune
Do You Have a Fear of Returning to the Office? By Emma Beddington from The Guardian
Why fear is the greatest obstacle to Returning to Work? by Allison Velex from SHRM
Years of Medical Abuse Make Black Americans Less Likely to Trust Covid Vaccine by Dan Royles from the Washington Post