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Tag Archives: Information technology

THE SWEETER COUNTER-OFFER: SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?

183154_10151533598074842_389516587_nby Logan Knight, Technology Recruiter, Redfish Technology

 

The job market in technology is hot! Engineering, development, product management, sales and business development, these are hot roles in the tech sector and there’s a lot of competition by companies to attract and retain top talent these days.

Even if you aren’t looking for another job, you may be approached with another opportunity. Let’s say you really weren’t looking to make a move but you were polite on the phone, and next thing you know you’re curious about what you are hearing.

An initial phone interview led quickly to a face to face, and now you have an offer. It is an exciting opportunity with bleeding edge technology. You are motivated because of the new company’s work environment, culture, benefits, salary, location, perks, and such so before you know it you’ve accept the offer.

Shortly after you give notice, your manager makes a pitch for you to stay on and he makes you a sweeter offer than the new company. Oh geez, you are asking yourself “Should I stay or should I go?”

The Clash had it right, (paraphrasing) if you go there may be trouble, but if you stay it will be double. While it is flattering to be wanted, and it is validating to get competing and improving offers, what happens once the dust settles?

Most of the time, the work environment is going to suffer; the trust factor cannot be recovered. Your employer is now wary of your motives and your loyalty. When it comes time to build a new team for a mission critical product launch, will you be trusted to see it through? What happens if there is a change in fortunes at the company and a belt needs to be tightened, who do you think will be among the first laid off? Perhaps your work was critical at the time of your offer and the upper management felt you had to be kept to see it through. What then when the project is done, might the company’s loyalty wane like yours did? When it comes down to it, you kissed another girl and Susie is not going to forget it!

Another by-product of this bidding war occurs with your colleagues. Co-workers may know or suspect that you got some sweet deal to stay and they will probably resent you for it. Will your colleagues be supportive and collaborative if they question whether you are one of them? Might some employees try a similar move hoping to leverage an outside offer into better pay where they are, and whether successful or not the human dynamic is certainly going to be affected, and not likely in a positive way.

And guess what will happen if you stay after accepting the outside offer. You got it, that employer is going to blacklist you. The recruiter you worked with will never represent you again. And word will generally get around creating a negative perception.

But remember, even if you weren’t initially looking for another opportunity, you did get excited enough to go through a hiring process and accept an offer for good reasons. Perhaps you weren’t feeling appreciated, or you felt you deserved better pay. Maybe you needed a new challenge or work environment. Whatever the case may be, you can’t go back.

The great majority of professionals who accept a counteroffer to stay are gone within a year, whether of their own volition or being asked to leave. So don’t pick up that phone or be ready to honor your word. The answer is don’t take the counteroffer, no matter how sweet.

 

About Redfish Technology:

Founded in Silicon Valley in 1996, Redfish Technology is an award-winning talent acquisition firm specializing in high tech and clean tech sectors. Partnering with growth mode companies, small and large, Redfish staffs executive functions and builds out the teams below. The company provides services nationwide and has offices in Silicon Valley, the East Coast, and Sun Valley.

 

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How Managed Services Can Benefit Your Business By Cutting Cost

Managed Services GuyCost cutting has hit each and every business in the last decade. The businesses target on maximizing profits by getting rid of extra overhead expenses and outsourcing the processes if required. It has been observed that the first step towards cost cutting is laying off extra, under-used or non-performing human resources. Downsizing has been a major threat to the employees specially working at lower and middle level.

The department that usually witnesses downsizing the most is IT department. It has been observed that in the long run, the companies tend to outsource IT processes to maximize their profits. While closing down the IT departments, the companies usually start with outsourcing server and storage management. The service providers that are specialized in this field are contacted for data storage, maintenance, retrieval and access.  This saves IT infrastructure cost that the company has to bear from time to time. Although outsourcing is a solution but there are ways through which a company can reduce costs without putting down the machines and servers. Remember, closing down the IT department can be very risky as a single wrong decision can lose data worth of millions of dollars or can shut down the whole IT infrastructure of the company. There are companies that specialize in this transition process and even help companies use their current setup efficiently.  Based on following solutions, they may recommend a solution that best suits your company’s IT environment:

Using Serve Space To Increase Efficiency

It has been seen that many companies do not take full advantage of the installed servers. The servers have a specific capacity and if a company is shifting to a new server without using the previous one to its maximum capacity, the company is actually wasting money, hence, increasing its cost. The service providers can review the server usage and recommend accordingly. They can even guide how a company can effectively use its server capacity. They can consolidate some data, remove unwanted and useless data and free some space for more storage.

Avoid Upgrading Already Installed Servers

Many companies opt for updating the old servers rather than buying the new machinery, but it is observed that this decision can cost more in the long run. Although old machinery can be upgraded at lower cost but new machinery is usually more energy efficient and can bear more load. Maintenance and troubleshooting requirements also minimize with new machinery on board.

Minimize Cost Of Virtualization Licenses

Virtualization also amuses many companies as they tend to reduce the cost of IT processes. It is however important to know that if a Virtualization solution is not selected intelligently, it can cost more than physical IT arrangements. The companies usually pay an annual subscription or monthly rent for virtualized data space and also for licenses of required applications. The experts and service providers may at times suggest hosting some machines in the office and reducing licensing cost of applications while using only the data storage facility virtually.

If the IT department of your company needs certain changes, consider hiring a service organization and ask them to provide a diverse but specific IT solutions for your organization like managed services to ensure smooth operations.

Author Bio
Maegan Pulman is a freelance IT consultant and technology enthusiast. She is active in local and international IT events and is always on the lookout for the latest industry trends.

 

 

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Prevent Larger Rivals From Poaching Your Staff

employees_workingThe past Olympics has created more jobs and opportunities not only in the UK but all over the world. If your industry is experiencing a sudden growth or demand for manpower, you better keep watch. Chances are the bigger companies are also on the lookout for new people. With the increase in job availability and the diversity it offers, you are in danger of losing your senior or most valuable employees. You should not let that happen because it will affect your business negatively in so many ways. How do you keep your staff and prevent them from being hired by your bigger competitors? Here are some suggestions.

  • Offer training. You can offer your staff skills training in areas outside their expertise. If you’re hiring foreigners, offer them basic English training or basic IT training. If you have competent staff, train them in advanced levels of their jobs.
  • Then offer a higher paying job. When your staff “graduates”, create a job that they can apply for. This method allows you to hire from within, with qualified workers who have already undergone training. These are people you trust and you are sure that will perform. Lower level jobs are lower risks so there’s not much problem when you need to hire outside the company. This method also prevents your senior, trained staff from leaving your company because you have already given them an opportunity to grow.
  • Quality over quantity. It’s understandable that a small business cannot compete with a large company in terms of salaries but you can compete with quality of life. Being small allows you to be flexible. When a family member gets sick or there’s a soccer game or school play, you can afford to give your staff the day off. Most big companies do not allow that.
  • Be family-friendly. Take the time to know each of your employees and their families especially if you only have 5 full-time employees. Knowing a little bit of their background helps you understand the way they work and can give you a better insight of their strengths and weaknesses. Who knows, you might find a valuable supplier in Lisa’s aunt’s cousin’s friend.
  • Offer small bonuses. You can’t give a large salary but you can give a small performance bonus to deserving employees. Make sure your employees are always motivated.
  • Movie nights? Take your employees out to celebrate the success of a business partnership or closing a deal. It can be a simple movie night, bowling night or drinks at your favourite pub. A happy employee stays with you.
  • Check your tools. A workman is only as good as his tools. Observe if your employees are getting frustrated with their jobs because of faulty equipment. This can cause them to look for another company that can provide with the proper tools to do their jobs.
  • Provide help. Help doesn’t necessarily mean a person. It can be a new printer, a new computer or a new device that can help your employees do their jobs better. Take for example the simple franking machine. A franking machine sorts, weighs, calculates the correct postage and stamps your mail. Oh, and a franked mail also gets discounts from the post office.  If the person in-charge of outgoing mail in your company is swamped with work each day, it’s only a matter of time before he decides to do something else. After all, who wants to be buried in a pile of mail five days a week? A franking machine can process at least 90 pieces of mail per minute so think how fast your employee can finish. You can then assign your employee to do other things. This also keeps your employee from getting bored with his job.
  • Pool resources. Check if your area has a group of business owners that pool resources. For example, one company is in need of a clerk and the other company has an extra clerk that they need to let go because of budget constraints. They then can refer that clerk to the other company in need.
  • Join a group. If you have an association of business owners in your area, you may want to check it out. Talking to like-minded people gives you new insights, new ideas and a new perspective in running your own business. You need to talk to people who understand what you’re going through. Ask them if they have lost an employee to a bigger paying competitor and what they did to prevent that from happening again. These things are better discussed with people who experience the same things that you do instead of your spouse or family.

Finally, the next time you’re hiring for a senior position, you might want to hire “mature” people. They have a wealth of experience and they tend to stay in one place. They’re not impatient like their younger colleagues. You need patience and understanding to grow a company and these people can provide you with that.

This article was written by entrepreneur blogger Dawn Biggs. Please visit my Contractor Money site if you liked this article.

 

 

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Modernizing Your Human Resource Strategies to Fit the Digital Age

Whether it’s a small business or a large enterprise, a start-up or an established corporation, the influence a competent Human Resources Management team have on a business’ success should never be underestimated. After all, the people in this team have a hand in how new hires view the company and how old-hand employees feel about their employment. An effective HR team will be able to help promote and maintain a work environment that not only makes it conducive for employees to perform efficiently but also stimulates creativity and initiative.

It is essential that a member of a Human Resources team know and understand their established responsibilities and tasks. That’s a given. What experienced HR managers sometimes neglect, however, is the need for continued evolution in strategies and practices in order for the department to stay updated with the changing work force. You can’t expect to use the same coaching methods or recruitment processes from ten years – or even five years – ago and expect it to yield the same outstanding results now as it did then. Especially in today’s digital age, modernizing your strategies is a sure way of demonstrating growth and adaptability.

Here are some tips, tricks, and modern techniques you can employ to help boost your HR management skills.

In Employment and Recruitment

Utilize social media. It is a well-known idea that people in Human Resources are notoriously slow in making use of advances in technology. It’s about time you prove this idea wrong. Gen-Y prospective employees spend more time online and hanging out in social media websites than they do anywhere else. A more established online presence – and publicity for the company – is not the only reason to take advantage of social media in your recruitment processes, though. Prompting conversations and discussions online pertinent to your industry will also introduce you to people with brilliant ideas. People who might be a perfect fit for your company in the future. People from everywhere in the state or the country. You don’t need to post ads on Illinois newspapers or check out Louisiana human resources websites to find the perfect prospective hire. They’ll find you.

Be proactive; not reactive. When it comes to finding talent, waiting for applications is not exactly giving your business the best advantage. It doesn’t have to be a fresh face; the idea is to actively look for people that will fit the role rather than just posting a job ad and sorting through the willing. Taking note of special skills employees have will also help you in identifying the perfect fit should a position matched with the skill open up.

Hire for culture fit as well as skills. This is an often overlooked criterion in picking the perfect new employee. Most HR people will focus on skills and experience, education and background, and forget to pay attention to how exactly the applicant will fit in the current company culture. On top of the required skills and experience, you want someone who can adapt to the established culture within the organization. This will help the employee view the company in a more long-term light.

Training, Development, and Employee Relations

Motivate. That’s pretty general, but motivation is also relative to position, age, length of stay in the company, and the industry. Of course, no matter the mentioned factors, financial compensation is always a factor in motivating employees. That’s not the only thing an HR team should be focusing on, though. Generation Y workers are pretty vocal in their preference for a more dynamic workplace, transparent management, and non-financial benefits rather than just a high salary. In something as subjective and relative as this, it helps you to come up with better methods when you can measure the level of success. Try a motivational technique with one employee and see if there are results. It is then up to you to adjust based on the outcome.

Embrace technology. It doesn’t bite. A well planned and competently executed merging of high tech help with your HR duties will not only save money and time, but should serve as a perfect opportunity for you to say hi to the digital age. Use online payroll apps, software geared towards HR management, and even applicant tracking. Technology is not only for those in the IT industry. By making use of different software and apps, you’re not only making your job smoother but also lessening your carbon footprint – what with your reduced use of paper and other office supplies – while you’re at it.

Consistency is key. No matter what policy you enforce, it is essential that you not only be transparent about it, but consistent as well. You hold everybody responsible – including yourself and everybody in your department. Consistency in leadership promotes trust and is one of the reasons why employees stay.

Be open to changes. Words like flexible hours and telecommuting might be thrown around. It doesn’t mean these will be enforced, but it doesn’t hurt for you to be open to the possibilities. This just helps you adjust accordingly and be ready for when the company decides to go for the changes.

Cedric Loiselle is an experienced writer who enjoys imparting useful information to many readers. The topics he usually writes about include business and finance, home improvement, and health.

 

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Online or On Campus Learning: Which One Is Best for You?

The choices in online education have exponentially grown over the last decade. In the beginning, there were only a handful of colleges offering a few majors through convoluted and difficult interfaces. At that time, the choice between attending an online school and a brick-and-mortar institution was a clearer choice. Today, however, the field has broadened tremendously, and with it has come an increase in opportunity and resources. Online education is being taken seriously by institutions of higher learning, and students are flocking to the opportunity to achieve their academic goals while continuing to meet their current obligations to family and career. Here are some points to consider when choosing between online and in-class attendance.

Convenience

The biggest advantage that persuades many to choose an online degree program is the element of convenience. The opportunity to be free of rigid class schedules means that many who are attending classes to enhance their current career path are able to do so after work. For parents, online class work and attendance can be scheduled around the obligations of child rearing. The advantage for many students that are recently graduated from high school is that attending online opens up the availability of far away colleges without requiring an expensive and often traumatic relocation.

Degree Choice

Information technology is one of the fastest growing job fields in the world, and online schools offer a wide variety of college degree programs for those interested in joining that market. However, there are still many degrees in the sciences and liberal arts that are not available online. Choosing a major was once a difficult choice that students could put off while fulfilling their core class requirements, but now it has become more critical to make that decision prior to enrollment. Prospective students must make the choice of schools based on the degree they desire, but the reality is that some professions can only be pursued through brick-and-mortar attendance. This is most relevant at the undergraduate level. If you are not sure what major you want to study, it may be best to attend a campus-based university, where you have the time and ability to gain exposure to a greater variety of fields of study.

School Prestige

There are two major opinions related to school prestige that differ on their views of its necessity. Some believe that the content of an education determines its value, while others associate college degree value with the name of the institution one has attended. This is a matter of opinion that has evidence on both sides of the argument, but it is a realistic consequence of one’s school choice. The advantages of a brick-and-mortar institution can most frequently be associated with the alumni support services and the networking that is achieved while in attendance. When physically attending a school, one’s interaction with peers and professors is much more personal and valuable to the future support of one’s academic and professional endeavors. In the online environment, everyone is geographically isolated and there is rarely any additional interaction, which means there is little chance of building friendships and professional contacts.

Deciding to attend college online or at a physical campus can be a difficult choice. Selecting between the two options should be made based on which is most complimentary to one’s individual goals and needs.

Janet Snyder is a freelance blogger, who writes about options in higher education. Herself a student, Janet recommends getting a masters degree in strategic management to help you on your career path.

 

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Are You In Control? Social Media and IT Security for Businesses

Most companies in the internet age now routinely monitor their employees IT usage while they are in the office. Who are they e-mailing? How long are they spending on social media? What are they doing on those web pages? These are questions that IT managers should have answers to. The issue of course comes, that as a company grows larger, and the number of employees grows along with it, monitoring becomes difficult, time consuming and tends to rapidly become an activity conducted ex post a major incident, rather than preventatively ex ante. Indeed monitoring by its very definition can only catch an action after it has happened and allow disciplinary/reparative action to be taken (which is by far better than nothing). One need only look at recent high profile leaks from the US military, arguably one of the most highly monitored IT systems in the world, to realize the pitfalls innate to relying purely on monitoring as a security, or information protection method – especially when the number of users reaches a certain level.

Unknown Risks

Most employers and employees are unaware of the ease with which an e-mail address can be followed to all of the: forum profiles, social media profiles and user names associated with it. Not only are there a huge number of ‘public tools’ available for these purposes (pipl.com being one example of such an aggregator), there are many other for pay, or proprietary search systems that are far more effective at the task. As people become more and more active on the internet, their concerns for privacy seem to have declined with their apparent familiarity with the medium.

The majority of profiles on ‘Facebook’ for instance now, (if one is a friend, and in many cases if one is merely a friend of a friend) display the current employer, location and sometimes even job title. Even if this information is absent, some common sense and an e-mail check can easily tie most social media pages to a Linkedin page, and as a result an employer.  This means that your employees, (or you if you are an employee) are in a sense, representing your/their employer every time you/they post on-line, unless you have taken concrete steps to insure your anonymity, or as an employer, you have strict and strong social media policies in place to insure that employees know the limitations of what they can and cannot post with regards to work (or on any site which may reasonably become connected to you as their employer).

Most security breaches or information leaks happen unintentionally and because employees and employers are unaware of both the value of the information they are discussing in public, and/or how easily connected it is to the company they are working for, and how actively sought after such information is by business intelligence firms and competitor marketing departments. (Not to mention, activists, hackers, and criminals). Some simple tips that everyone can follow can greatly mitigate risk:

If you are an Employee:

  • Assume that your boss can see everything that you post on Facebook, Google+, MySpace, etc. That includes the picture of you engaged in illicit activities. Never post anything that you wouldn’t want the world to see. Read that over, say it again, now actually go and fix it if there is any incriminating evidence.
  • Never accept a friend request from anyone at any time unless you have met them face to face, no matter how pretty/handsome they are, or how nice their profile seems. Corporate Intelligence entities and researchers routinely use this technique to gain access to your information and there’s nothing strictly illegal about it provided they don’t manifestly lie about it. (i.e. claim they’re a cop).
  • If you are going to post on forums, or other pages, create an e-mail address (under  a pseudo name, and that bears no resemblance to your name) specifically for that forum, and a new username linked to that e-mail address, and that forum only, and use it for no other purpose. That way your scathing attack on your competitor’s products or an offhand comment about work can never be linked back to you, or your employer.
  • Never post anywhere from a work computer, especially not a user group or forum. Most of them track and log your IP number (a unique number identifying your access point to the internet) which can be traced back to the client company via any number of IP address searches (www.ipaddress.com being one example). More often than not, along with the ISP, is the name of the corporate entity that owns the computer, that’s right – your boss.
  • Remember that if you take your computer home with you, it’s still a work computer. Keep your personal information off of it. It’s risky, and worse than that, results in your privacy being at issue.

As an employer:

  • Educate your staff as to why certain pieces of information are important, confidential and should never be revealed.
  • Actively monitor your employees’ use of IT infrastructure.
  • Regularly check up on your employees accessible social media activities. (You do not have to, nor should you ever ask for their passwords. If you can’t see the information without it, then no one else can either and so there’s no risk.)
  • Have a robust policy in place as to what is and isn’t acceptable
  • Use both carrot and stick! Have disciplinary procedures for breach, but also rewards for exemplary behavior or spotting breaches before it’s too late!
  • Remember that illegal actions by employees using your IT infrastructure can result in you going to jail, or your firm being sued. It happens more and more often and is a huge risk to a small business.
  • If in doubt hire a professional to conduct an Open Source intelligence audit/policy review

It’s never too late to plug a leak or correct errors and by following these simple steps, the job of your average open source researcher would become largely impossible, which is exactly how you should want it to be!

Richard Farley works as a digital investigator in London for Atris Aqua. He specialises in employee monitoring through the use of only open source intelligence techniques.

 

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Five Essential Skills for a Technology Career

A Career in technology can be interesting, challenging, and lucrative. If you are looking at a career in technology, whether information technology (IT) or something more “blue collar” like industrial engineering, these five essential skills will help you succeed.

Mathematics

Technology careers draw heavily on math. Students should have a good grasp of the various branches of mathematics such as algebra, trigonometry, geometry, and calculus. Whether you will actually use these specific skills every day is unimportant. Understanding math helps you understand essential technology concepts. A computer may do the math for you, but you need to understand it, especially if you are programming the computer to do that math.

Advanced knowledge of mathematics can also help advance your future career. If you want to go from being an IT professional working on the customer side of things to getting involved in the design end, it will be easier if you can speak intelligently about mathematics.

Basic Physics

Most technology fields require at least a cursory knowledge of physics. Your need for deep understanding will depend on the career you choose. Researchers are running advanced simulations to try to understand how the universe was formed. If you don’t understand physics, you’ll have a hard time breaking into this exciting field of study.

Problem Solving

Problems solving is at the heart of information technology. IT workers solve problems every day, all day. They find solutions through hands-on help, guidance, programming new software, inventing new technologies and more.

Learning to approach problems effectively is vital to success in this area. If you can analyze what needs to be done, use creative techniques to find a solution and figure out how to implement it, you have a great head start in a technology career.

Systems Analysis

An analytical mind can look at a problem and logically trace it back to its roots. This skill is especially important for programmers and debuggers. Systems must be broken down into their component parts and dealt with in a specific yet integrated way. Dealing with systems and integrating your insights on the problem can be very helpful in solving technological problems of all sorts.

Communication Skills

Finally, good communication skills are a necessity in this field. Luckily, even poor communicators can improve, especially since most messages will go via email. Students must be able to explain problems and solutions clearly, communicate effectively and make themselves understood while maintaining pleasant and constructive exchanges of information. These skills are not technical ones per se, but they should not be overlooked as part of a technology professional’s core skill set. They are vital to information exchange that is effective, efficient, and cooperative.

Jessica Bosari writes about technology careers for Technology-Colleges.info. Students can find information about many technology jobs, such as computer forensics careers.

 

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