Wednesday 8 July, 2020

Career Corner: Year in Review

Season’s Greetings from the Career Corner!

It’s already December and we are again approaching the end of another year. At the close of 2018, I discussed ‘Gift Giving at Christmas’ and shared a few guidelines that should be followed when exchanging gifts with colleagues. These tips are still applicable, and I encourage you to be guided accordingly during this holiday season.

As we close 2019, I have decided to do a review of some of the salient topics that we discussed throughout the year. I trust that these pointers will continue to assist you as you navigate the world of work and manage your careers.

1. Goal Setting. In the same manner that you make plans for your personal lives- you must make plans for your professional lives as well. It is important to set goals and to be deliberate in managing your time to ensure that these goals are achieved. As 2020 approaches, I strongly urge you set career goals, develop an action plan, execute and pursue your goals actively.

2. Be mindful of your mental health. Mental health in the workplace is a serious issue. It is important for us to continue discussing this topic and to increase awareness surrounding mental health at work. Going forward, a key activity for HR practitioners will be to provide training for managers and employees to equip them with the skills needed to identify mental health issues and to support employees who may have mental health challenges. Importantly, employees should also be provided with access to resource personnel who can respond to their mental health needs appropriately.

3. Organizational Wellness. We explored workplace wellness as a key initiative designed to facilitate healthy behavior in the office. Workplace wellness can contribute to factors like minimizing employee burnout, reducing absenteeism and facilitating increased productivity. As a reminder, there are several initiatives that can be implemented if your organization does not yet have a wellness programme in place…for 2020, consider things like walking meetings, gym membership for employees, lactation rooms for nursing mothers and height adjustable desks to boost wellness in the workplace.

4. New Jobs. The first few weeks of a new job was also an important issue. As discussed, during the first few weeks, the expectation is that you will get settled and begin to understand your new role. As a reminder, you will be exposed to a lot of new information and will need to learn quickly- remember that your boss wants you to do well, so ask questions if necessary. Also, when invited to meetings, participate and make meaningful contributions. Lastly, get involved in workplace activities… but remember to MYOB (mind your own business). Don’t get caught up in office politics. Don’t get entangled in affairs that do not concern you. Instead, focus on the tasks that have been assigned to you and execute them well.

5. Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is a big buzz word these days, and a lot of employees have a 'side hustle'. While you build your business, remember the following: you must still fulfill the duties of your current employer, you should review company policies to ensure your ‘side hustle’ does not conflict with company policies, it may be necessary to declare your ‘side hustle’ to your employer, and it is never encouraged to engage in the same kind of business as your employer.

There have been career highlights and challenges in 2019 as expected. I trust that 2020 will be a productive year for you with several opportunities to enrich your working lives.

In the coming year, I would like to connect with you. If there are topics that you would like me to discuss - please send me a message and advise me. I would be happy to explore them for you.

All the best to you for the holiday season. As always…I wish for you all good things!

Malaika Edwards is a Human Resources consultant and provides advisory services to individuals and business clients. She is also a PhD scholar at the Louisiana State University (LSU) where she specializes in Human Resources and Workforce Development. You can contact her at malaika.edwards@yahoo.com, or on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/malaika-edwards. 

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