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Recently, a business acquaintance asked me why our consultants are so good and why our competitors' consultants were not. My response was, it really isn't about the consultants at all. The competition has good consultants as well. It's much more about the business model. When I think about why our consultants are perceived as being better, it may not only be the quality of consultant or education of our consultants, but also the delivery of our model and the fact we make the time to devote to candidates. Our consultants are not servicing 150+ job seekers at a time and our focus is still on the personalized delivery. However, we can’t ignore the increased importance of a virtual delivery system. Our competitors are moving further away from one-on-one delivery and trying to make a buck by delivering career transition services virtually, thereby "saving money” and commoditizing our industry. We often discuss the the question, "Should we be changing our business model to compete in a virtual world?" When I look at the fact that the “big box” providers are all moving in this direction, I am left wondering if they know something that we haven’t discovered. However, when I look at the reality of a virtual model and couple that with the feedback that we receive from those participating in our career transition programs, I become more convinced than ever that while virtual is a complimentary tool, it's not the ideal method to help people find their next opportunity. Obviously, an outplacement firm has to offer “state-of-the-art” technology. We, as well as our competitors, spend a lot of time and money implementing systems that can provide an efficient virtual experience for our career transition clients. We all spend a great deal of time educating the transitioning employees on how to use the system. However, when we look at the candidates who access the online resources available to them, the numbers are quite striking. Less than 20% of all candidates within our system ever log on to start the initial online services. Now remember, our candidates are given the opportunity to have a one-on-one relationship with a dedicated career coach from the beginning. They are choosing to relate with a coach rather than to use the virtual tools. To me, this makes it clear that people would still prefer to have a live person with whom they can touch base than to have a webinar that they can access from their home. After speaking with an ex-executive from a large, national outplacement firm, I was quite surprised to learn that the virtual model is not succeeding as well as the company had hoped. Initially, this seemed a bit shocking as companies adhere to the idea that by eliminating the one-on-one personal training and offering a commoditized product in the shape of virtual career transition programs they will save money. We sincerely understand the need to minimize costs and save money (as cash is king); however, if a company has the resources to provide a cost effective but individualized program, it seems that program is ultimately more helpful to a departing employee. Maybe the virtual model is not all it’s cracked up to be. After all, we are all still human and when faced with a vulnerable, emotional time, it is human nature to reach out to a familiar person and get direction/guidance and advice. What are your thoughts about virtual career transition? Have you been the recipient of one of these programs? I welcome your feedback. Career transition new face image from Shutterstock

Learn how to land a career you love

Everyone needs to feel their voice is heard and their contributions are important. Something as simple as sharing a drink the last hour of the day on a Friday with the team to recap wins and give praise can build camaraderie within the team.

All of the above are fairly simple to implement but can make a huge difference in morale and motivation. Have any of these tips worked well for young the past? Do you have other tips to motivate your creative team? If so, please share them with me!

Encourage curiosity. Spark debate. Stimulate creativity and your team will be better at handling challenges with flexibility and resourcefulness. Create a safe space for ideas, all ideas, to be heard. In ideation, we need the weird and off-the-wall ideas to spur us on to push through to the great ideas.

Sure, there are a ton of studies done on this, but here is my very unscientific personal take. When team members can make decisions about how they work on projects, they are more engaged and connected to the project outcome. When they see how potentially dropping the ball would affect the entire team, they step up. When they feel like what they are doing is impactful and valued, they are naturally motivated to learn more, and be even better team members.

Rarely does a one-size-fits-all style work when it comes to team motivation. I have found that aligning employee goals with organization goals works well. Taking time to get to know everyone on your team is invaluable. What parts of their job do they love? What do they not enjoy? What skills do they want to learn? Even going so far as to where they see themselves in five years career-wise. These questions help you right-fit projects, and help your team see you are committed to creating a career path for them within the company.

Most designers I know love a good challenge. We are problem solvers by nature. Consistently give yourself and your team small challenges, both design-related and not. It will promote openness within the team to collaborate, and it will help generate ideas faster in the long run. Whether the challenge is to find a more exciting way to present an idea to stakeholders or fitting a new tool into the budget, make it a challenge just to shake things up.