Be a HeRo to the Heroes

vets thank youOn this Veteran’s Day, go beyond “thank you”.  I want to challenge my fellow leaders in HR and beyond to think about how you can further support our current and retired military.  We all respect them, but too often for many of us, it’s just a passing thought during the national anthem.

So many great organizations exist with ways to help.  Whether it is donating as a company and/or personally, creating a work environment that is veteran and military-spouse friendly, or any number of other ways.  Don’t just think about it any more.

Want an example?  Check out HEROES Care.  They meet the needs of service members and their families before, during and after deployment with financial and material support along with a major emphasis on the mental aspect that takes such a significant toll on these quiet heroes.

Want some eye-popping stats? In Missouri alone:

50,000- number of military families in the state

5,000- number affected by deployment at any given time

500- number of families who will require the support that HEROES Care provides

50- number of military members who will make an attempt and/or take their own lives

HEROES Care reaches the 50,000 to support the 5,000 to sustain the 500 to help prevent the 50.

Here are two other great organizations that I’m familiar with:  Give An Hour, Military Spouse Corporate Career Network

There are countless other organizations and ways to help. Find one that strikes you and let me know about it.

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Forget job duties…Making a REAL difference at work

As you started your work week, you probably didn’t think much about how you might make a difference in a coworkers life. I’m here to tell you that you can, very easily.How can I help

Every year, 18% of the U.S. population experience some type of mental illness.** Keep in mind that “mental illness” can mean a lot of things. Obviously, 18 out of every 100 people aren’t running around acting crazy at some point during the year.  That’s because they aren’t crazy.  They are normal folks.

Chances are, you know or sit near someone that has or will struggle with their mental wellness. You have a real opportunity to be a hero.  You can make a difference to someone struggling.  Don’t underestimate the significance here.

How do I make a difference, you ask? Do two simple things:

First, just pay attention. Ever had a coworker that clearly seemed “off” or has outwardly talked about problems they are having?  If someone clearly isn’t themselves in the way they act or their recent performance, don’t be afraid to be human and just ask if everything is OK.  You can lead and encourage others without prying inappropriately.

Second, know that resources exist to help people. Do you have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through work?  If you don’t know, find out.  If you are in HR, promote it.  Don’t let the information just be something you mention once a year or hang a single flyer in the lunch room.  People need to know that it’s there, that it is free and confidential to deal with anything bothering them.  And, it can be used to help anyone in their immediate family in most cases.  If that’s outside your realm, at least encourage others to look into it.

Many other great resources exist. A couple that I like are http://www.workplacementalhealth.org/ and http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/workplace-wellness.

You may never really know for sure what difference you made by encouraging someone. Beyond that, it can have a ripple effect.  If your co-worker Susan takes your advice, uses the EAP and gets better, she becomes a more confident person which impacts those she loves.  Maybe she ends up helping someone else based on her experience…and the ripple continues.

Don’t underestimate the opportunity you have every day to be that hero. We all need to step out of our own bubble and pay attention, not only to the great things we have, but to the things we can help with.

**Data from U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 12/2013

 

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Resumes gone wrong…. And they wonder why it’s hard to find a job

pulling hairIf you’ve ever been involved in hiring people, you know it can be entertaining at times.  On occasion, as our hiring picks up, I review a lot more resumes than is normal to help our managers. It never fails to be an eye opener.

Here’s a sample of some things I’ve recently seen from some people applying for jobs….and they wonder why it’s hard to find one!

  • Resume fully consisted of “no resume just a hard worker with forklift experience looking for a chance”.  Here’s a thought, give yourself a chance by putting forth a little more effort
  • Top of resume has intro that describes the person as “consistent, long standing track record of success” and then has 9 jobs listed over the past two years, not including gaps. I guess we all define success differently
  • Person applied to two different, but similar openings.  Length of time in recent jobs was listed differently on each, by a number of years!….hmmm, trustworthy
  • For warehouse position, listed name as “Dietary Aide”….definitely a fit
  • Sent an email saying “I’m very excited about the opportunity as your Nurse Practitioner”….we sell store fixtures and supplies, try again

I know people go through hard times and I’m not trying to make fun of that.  There was a time when my resume was pretty thin with limited experience.  But when you just don’t care enough to pay attention or put forth some decent effort, why would I think you’ll produce great work here?

I know I’m preaching to the choir with you as my audience, but please encourage your kids, friends and others to go the extra mile.  Even if it only makes a difference on 1 of 10 jobs they apply for, I think we can agree it was worth it.

Have your own funny examples?  Feel free to share.

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