Gigats: Whatever It Takes

CEOs Tweet Their Way to Stronger Leadership

Is your CEO tweeting? BRANDfog, a social media and digital leadership firm, recently found that employees view company executives who regularly use social media as better leaders, more trustworthy and better brand executives.

Employees believe that social medial leads to better leadership and that those who use social media to communicate a company mission and core values are more trustworthy. Due to the increase of connectivity in our information-driven world, CEOs and other higher-ups are expected to have an active social presence. Eighty percent of employees also said that engaging on social media helps to raise brand awareness and is a valuable public relations tool. Twitter and other social media sites have also provided CEOs with the opportunity to enhance their own personal images and create a reputation as forward-thinking, trend-setting leaders.

While Social Media can be tricky, there is a higher inherent risk in ignoring it altogether. Conversations take place on Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and other social media sites. Avoiding social media sites means that CEOs are missing the opportunity to join in on what is already being said. Social media humanizes a brand and turns the CEO of a company from a vague figure into a real, accessible individual.

Do you think that social media is an effective tool for CEOs to use?

Apple Celebrates Earth Day

Today marks Earth Day, an annual event dedicated to demonstrating support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, the event is now coordinated globally and celebrated in more than 192 countries. Around the world, companies and individuals join in various events to help emphasize the important message of protecting our earth, and this year Apple joined in-and threw a few punches while they were at it.

Though Apple usually refrains from attacking its rivals in ads, the company must have been in a celebratory mood when they made a special exception for Earth Day. A full-page ad in newspapers invited competitors to copy its sustainability strategy the way they mimic the brand’s design. The ad packs an extra punch amidst the current lawsuit with Samsung over mobile patent claims. Samsumg faces damages up to $930 million due to the patents surrounding Apple’s iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy Nexus 111 devices.

The ad is believed to be part of Apple’s “Better” campaign introduced earlier this week. The campaign outlines the company’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint; the push comes a month after Greenpeace singled out Apple in a report on the technology sector for “significant improvements in their energy transparency.”

What do you think of Apple’s Earth Day campaign? Are you celebrating the event with as much fervor as the company? 

The Hiring Game is On

Resume, interviews, and… gaming? The application process for a job has always been comprised of various tasks and hoop jumping, and recently gamification is becoming somewhat of a growing trend in some companies’ hiring processes. Gamification is a tool that makes work a bit more fun, increases engagement, commitment and motivation, as well as stimulates users, consumers and employees. Job applications continue to become more tedious and cumbersome and many companies are looking for ways to liven up the process.

The New York Times recently published an article about new HR tactics that utilize video games to assess candidates’ skills. The companies leading the way in the gamification hiring process are primarily tech companies. Google, has implemented “The Google Code Jam,” a global online software-writing contest that attracts more than 7,500 people each year and offers an opportunity to work at Google. Facebook has a similar program called “Programming Challenge” that allows candidates to gain notice from potential employers.

While Tech companies are currently the ones leading the way with the gamification hiring process, there is an opportunity for other industries to join in on the fun. Creative hiring departments are establishing new ways for companies to find employees and eliminating discrimination based on resumes.

Unfortunately there is no A+B+Up+Down hack for the gamification hiring process but you can get a head start on your competition. Even if a company hasn’t moved away from the resume-centric approach to hiring, you can do your homework. Find challenges that your ideal company is facing, and propose a solution- and while you’re at it remind them why you are qualified.

“Stop Searching. Start Working.”
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Striving for Work Life Balance

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Arianna Huffington, author of “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder” wants everyone to know that there is more to life than work. Our culture is made up of many who prioritize success, money and power above our own well-being. Huffington recently shared insights on how to slow down before we burn out and obtain a better work-life balance while at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Huffington recommends various strategies to help keep you balanced and centered and how to approach life differently- moving away from survival mode and the relentless pursuit of success. Huffington’s main suggestion for improving your work life balance is to make micro-changes. Start out small, altering just one habit to tip the balance back toward sanity. For example, try to get 30 minutes more sleep per night, or begin meditating for 5 minutes each day. By starting out with small changes you can eventually move towards a larger life transformation. Simple changes such as these have huge, scientifically backed benefits and can lead to improvement in physical and emotional health, as well as boost creativity, confidence and decision-making skills.

Huffington believes that our society gives us “endless signals” to continue to focus on climbing the career ladder and measures success on two metrics: money and power. It’s important to remember that aside from those two things, we should also keep in mind our own well-being and continue to strive towards maintaining a healthier work-life balance.

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The Workplace of the Future

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Technology in the workplace has come a long way since type writers, clunky filing cabinets, rotary phones and massive machinery. With technological advances and the ever-changing styles of communication and management, the American workplace is drastically different from what it was in the past. Oudi Antebi, senior vice president of products at Jive, says that mobile and social are driving a cultural shift and creating a new work style. As a society that has gone mobile, we are ditching the desktop and clunky software and are no longer chained to our desks.

Today, we already utilize many different technological tools to work together. One tool that we currently rely heavily on and anticipate changing is email, a primary method of communication used by most offices. Countless startups are reimagining email inboxes, building real time messaging for the workplace and creating a cloud service for a more unified experience. Business software will also evolve to provide a better experience for users. There is an emphasis on building enterprise platforms and tools that enable workers to work with colleagues and customers across devices, teams and the world. In the future, it is anticipated that software will deliver new innovation quickly with minimal work on the user’s end.

In addition to changes in technology, the layout of offices will continue to be altered. Moving away from cubicles and C-suite offices, most companies will gravitate towards cost-effective, open office environments. John Michael, general manager of business interiors for Staples Advantage, believes that aside from the cost efficiency, there is another reason for creating a more open space. The most recent workforce generation is made up of “digital natives” who have been accustomed to using technology all their lives. This new workforce is used to multitasking and enjoys engaging and collaborating with co-workers. Open offices encourage the social dynamic among employees and encourage collaboration. A more collaborative work environment leads to more productivity, creativity and innovation.

What do you think the office of the future will look like?

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Squashing Job Search Stress

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There is no denying that searching for a job can be stressful. Uncontrolled anxiety and worry naturally emerge during a job transition regardless of experience, compensation level or industry. Stress can hinder your search, making interview performance worse, squashing  negotiation ability, and resulting in some job seekers wanting to forfeit the process altogether. There are several reasons why we stress over finding that perfect new job, and some effective measures for preventing yourself from buckling under the pressure.

Aside from the obvious concern of money, there are several factors that contribute to job search stress. Often, job seekers feel a lack of control during the job search process. The frustration of not knowing why you didn’t receive a callback, who your competition is, or being kept in the dark during interview phases can become overwhelming. Stress can also come from a lack of confidence. Practicing for interviews or perfecting your job search can help alleviate the anxiety. It’s important to work towards reducing your level of stress in order to improve your job search. Anxiety can lessen your ability to answer interview questions with intelligent responses, increasing rejection, and creating a snowball effect on your job search.

To minimize your job search stress start with the basics- exercise, diet and proper sleep. In addition, you have to change the way you think and adopt a positive mental attitude.  Focus less on problems that occur and more on possible solutions. Turn letdowns into ambition instead of inaction. Most importantly, don’t make every rejection a catastrophe; you won’t get every job you go for, but that isn’t reason to give up.

You won’t be able to eliminate stress altogether but working on your stress responses will improve the speed at which you complete your job search and the quality of the position that you find.

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The Future Belongs to Google

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It’s no surprise that technology has helped and will continue to help shape our lives and our work place. With tech giants like Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and Google the advancements in technology are numerous and continue to alter how we operate in our daily lives. But which of these companies does the future really belong to? Mudit Kakkar, Engineer, analyst and writer believes that it rests in the hands of Google.

Google has an uncanny ability to know where we are and what we plan to do next. What started as a simplistic search page has spawned a democratization of the Internet. While Google doesn’t always produce the best possible product right from the gates, they will go back, hone it and turn version 1.0 into a relic. Google is talented when it comes to changing interfaces and adapting its services. By constantly changing, tweaking and fine-tuning its products, Google is able to remain relevant. Kakkar says that Google doesn’t wait for something to break before finding a resolution and believes that the company operates under the unspoken mantra that prevention is better than cure. It is this continuous improvement that Kakkar believes separates the company from others that are struggling to stay on the map.

While excellent software or hardware design was always an honor reserved for Apple, in 2011 Google made the decision to rival the company. CEO, Larry Page presented a vision of a revamped Google and put his design team to work, an approach that continues to drive the company. Acquiring companies like Android, and other seemingly offbeat products allows Google to expand its horizons while continuing to sharpen existing products. Google continues to remain hard at work to make our lives easier, more connected and rather enjoyable. Beyond striving to set itself apart from its competitors, Google has happy employees, fosters innovation and continues to grow.  Google’s willingness to take on off-the-wall projects, such as Google Glass, driver-less cars, and robots, and continue to perfect its current products, is what makes them the harbingers of tomorrow.

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Employer Hiring Education Requirements Rise

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It looks like an associate or bachelor’s degree is becoming the new high school diploma. A recent CareerBuilder survey found that 27% of employers stated that their educational requirements for hiring have risen over the past five years. Thirty percent of the companies surveyed said that they are hiring more college-educated workers for jobs that were previously filled by high school graduates. For some career fields, such as a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) that number has increased even further, to 46%.  The survey, conducted by Harris Poll, included a sample of 2,201 hiring managers and HR professionals across various industries and company sizes and provided valuable insight on the current economic value of a college education.

As occupations continue to evolve and companies rely on professionals with strong skill sets, workers are finding it more difficult to stop their education at high school. The trend of hiring higher-educated employees is paying off for companies and being recognized economically. With a recent announcement from the Obama administration pushing two new initiatives to better train students for in-demand jobs of the future, it is unlikely the that the trend will just go away. One in five companies now target Master’s degree holders, and a third of employers say that they are sending current employees back to school for advanced degrees (the good news is that 81% say they are at least offering partial funding).

Have you noticed more companies requiring advanced degrees as a requisite for employment? If your company offered you the opportunity to go back to school would you take it?

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Gigats Employer Review of MillerCoors

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By providing effective job hunting tools, Gigats is able to help you make informed decisions about the right job for you and the companies to work for. Read below to see our employer review of MillerCoors and visit our website to see your personalized job matches.

Ranked as one of the top selling American Breweries, MillerCoors also makes our list of cool companies to work for. Offering an employee “perk six-pack,” flexible opportunities, and rich history, MillerCoors provides employees with several great benefits. According to Glassdoor.com, MillerCoors receives a 3.0 rating and more than 50% of employees would recommend the company to a friend. The Director of Integrated Talent Management at MillerCoors describes the extensive benefits offered, as a “perk six-pack.” The perks that make up the six-pack of benefits include career development, community involvement, beer (obviously), diversity and inclusion, more beer (seriously-employees receive a monthly gratis beer), and a team of talented people. MillerCoors also offers flexible opportunities and a wide range of job positions, including Tour Guides, Customer Service Representatives, Warehouse Operators and Marketing Representatives. MillerCoors is a company with three hundred years of combined brewing history and doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. The company offers a rich history and established foundation that offers a source of pride that would be difficult to find with another company.

With courses designed to help build careers, extensive perks including free beer and events, and a diverse and talented group of employees, there are several great reasons to join the MillerCoors team. Visit Gigats.com to see what opportunities may be available to you with MillerCoors and other top companies!

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Can Handwriting Reveal Job Aptitude?

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You may want to start practicing your cursive. Recently, many handwriting experts, called graphologists, are claiming that millions of people can be denied jobs based on what their handwriting reveals about their personality and aptitude for the job.

Graphology is the practice of determining aspects of a person’s personality and mental status from their handwriting. Do you write with a forward slant? That’s the sign of an outgoing personality. Think you have a back problem? Take a look at your descending letters (such as j, g or y) to see if there is a break. As neat as it may sound to have your handwriting analyzed by a graphologist, is there any actual validity to the practice of judging a person for job aptitude based on their handwriting?

Graphologists believe that a page or two of handwriting can help distinguish an accountant from a chef, and a go-getter from a lazy person. There is after all a stereotype when it comes to doctor’s writing, right? Most critics of the practice claim that any success in job placement based on graphology can easily be explained away. Scott Lilienfield, author of 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology, points out the contents of a handwritten application letter can be full of biographical information which can predict job performance. In addition, he states that often by the time a graphologist has received an application to review it has already been through some sort of process that eliminated the bad apples and landed it into a pool of people who are qualified for the job.

For the most part the use of graphology and other odd hiring practices is marginal, so there is no need to start perfecting your writing now. Continue to work on building your resume and gaining valuable work experience and you should be one step closer to finding the right job for you.

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Pitfalls of an Office Romance

Jim and Pam from The Office, Don Draper and Megan from Mad Men, and McDreamy and Meredith from Grey’s Anatomy. We constantly see office romances play out on television, chock-full of drama and extreme romantic gestures, but is it worth it to have one in real life? There are perks to finding that special someone while you are on the job but they also come with some drawbacks. Read below for the 10 potential pitfalls of an office romance.

1. People will gossip
Office gossip will always exist and an office romance can add fuel to fire. Try your best to be as discreet as possible to lessen the potential for office pow-wows about your romantic life.

2. You could lose your job
We deem this the biggest pit-fall of all. Make sure to study your companies’ policies about workplace relationships before you jump right in. Often managers and subordinates or individuals in the same department aren’t allowed to date without transferring or losing placement. Review the policy to safeguard yourself from potential unemployment.

3. Objectivity can go out the door
It’s easy to let your feelings for your significant other affect how you feel about your job. Remember to think with your head and not your heart when it comes to decisions about work projects or your opinion of co-workers.

4. It could limit your growth
If your manager wants to create professional distance between you and your partner, it my limit your options in terms of internal growth and movement. Also, you should keep in mind that your attachment to a co-worker might make it difficult for you to leave job or a company that you’ve outgrown.

5. It breeds competition
A little competition between co-workers is natural and often times healthy but be wary of the potential ugly dynamic with your sweetheart. If you and your significant other receive a promotion or a raise, you may lose equal footing at work and resentment can arise.

6. Suffering work-life balance
It’s hard enough to separate work life from home life without having to bring your boyfriend or girlfriend to work with you every day. Try to maintain the balance by avoiding talk about work at home and remember not to bring personal relationship problems into the office.

7. Others may resent your relationship
Be sensitive to others and try not to flaunt your relationship in the office. Some people may judge you for finding an office romance, especially if the person you are with has a more or less established career than you.

8. It may be isolating
No one likes to be the third wheel and an office romance can easily become a workplace clique custom made for two. Remember to build friendships with others at work aside from your significant other; otherwise people might feel unwelcome or uncomfortable interacting with just the two of you.

9. Shared triumphs and troubles
Sharing your successes doesn’t pose much of a threat, but what happens when you hit turbulent waters together? If your company falls on hard times and you both lose your job, then what? Be sure to create a more substantial rainy-day fund in cause your dual-income household suddenly is demoted to a no-income one.

10. A professional relationship can last longer than a romantic one
Breakups are upsetting, awkward and straining enough when you don’t work together. Imagine having to see your ex every day (and still maintain productivity). It’s important to have a conversation with before you begin dating about how you plan to handle continuing to work together even if the relationship doesn’t last.

About 56% of business professionals have had office romances, many of which have resulted in marriages or other significant relationships. We aren’t saying you should avoid getting to know the cute Office Coordinator down the hall, just make sure you safe guard yourself from the potential fall-out of an office romance.

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Business Creation Declines as Job Market Improves

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Earlier this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the U.S. economy added 192,000 jobs during the month of March. As the job market improves, changes and trends begin to occur. One of which is that fewer Americans apparently felt the need to create their own jobs last year, as a result of the suggested improvement in our economy.

The Kauffman Foundation, which studies entrepreneurship, published findings that more individuals are landing jobs and are no longer starting their own businesses out of necessity. The groups of individuals who in the past have chosen to forgo the job-search and begin their own company out of need are referred to as “necessity entrepreneurs”. As the economy has improved the number of businesses created has declined and returned to pre-recession levels. In fact, in 2013 the business-creation rate dropped to .28 percent, a number that is not too far off from the .26 percent rate we had in 2001.

The Kauffman Foundations’ vice president of research and policy, Dane Stangler, believes that the reason for the decline in business-creation is due to the labor market beginning to attract people back into it. As the market improves, the job search is becoming less daunting and individuals no longer feel the need to create their own jobs out of necessity. Those that are still choosing to create start-ups are, for the most part, employed and starting businesses because of the perceived opportunities- not because they were forced into it.

The decrease in the number of businesses created suggests that the job market is beginning to recover and that opportunities for employment are becoming more readily available. To take a look at an abundance of jobs available to you, visit Gigats.com!

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Finagling Workplace Perks

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Relationships aren’t always 50-50, especially in the case of an employer/employee one. In a recent Virgin Pulse survey, of more than 1,000 full-time U.S. employees, 75% said that they loved their companies, while only 25% felt that their companies loved them back. Talk about heart-break. Often, we love the companies that we work for due various elements, such as a company’s mission, our co-workers, or great pay. But when it comes to feeling like a company cares for us it usually comes down to the perks. Great benefits like life insurance, maternity leave and 401k plans make employees feel more cared for. While some companies may try to provide the ideal perks for employees, they occasionally miss the mark. If you are an employee who feels underappreciated, don’t assume that the only option remaining is to leave. It is likely that your employer is simply unaware of what you look for to feel acknowledged and a small dialogue can go a long way.

So how do you get what you want from your employer? Start by talking with your co-workers. Are they sharing the same emotions? Coming together as a group allows you to present a more solid case for what you all want from your company. As a group brainstorm what your company would look like in an ideal world and the type of perks it would offer. Now, turn around and think of the realistic world (where small budgets cause limitations and Hawaiian Punch from the water-fountain isn’t practical). What would satisfy you? Maybe in the ideal world an on-site gym is what you’d like, but in the realistic world you would settle for pass to the gym down the street. Once you’ve established the type of perk that you would like, make your case. Make a list of the accomplishments that you and your colleagues have made over the past year and demonstrate your dedication to the company’s success. As with any relationship, it’s easier to ask for something when you’ve proven that you’ve given in return. Finally, ask to schedule a meeting. No need to come in to it with 50 co-workers, just a few will work; otherwise your employer may feel bombarded. Give a well-prepared presentation that explains how you feel about the company, as well as your ideas to improve morale. Keep in mind that your manager might not have the final approval of ideas and that being flexible on the results is important. Create an open conversation and it will go a longer way than simply walking in and making demands.

Workplace happiness doesn’t solely rest in your employer’s hands. Don’t hesitate to take measures into your own hands to get the results that you want, but remember to take a smart approach and create an open dialogue.

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Music at Work

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According to the digital music service, Spotify, 61% of people stream music during the workday with 36% saying that it’s what gets them through their 9-5. Finding that one thing that can get you through the day just a little faster and with a bit more enthusiasm is important, but we have to make sure it isn’t at the expense of others. Gigats took a look at proper work-place music etiquette and the rules for whistling while you work.

Everyone has varying tastes in music. One persons’ motivational jam can sound like nails down a chalkboard to another. Remember to keep the volume low if you work in an open space without walls. Spotify reported that 10% of respondents admit to judging a co-worker based on their choice of music, so make sure you aren’t listening to anything loud enough that you wouldn’t want others to hear. Also, we all have that tune that just makes us want to get up and dance, but try your best not to tap or hum along to a song as it can create an unwanted distraction.

Where and when you wear your headphones is an equally as important factor. Try not to wear your headphones 24/7- it can create isolation and make it difficult for co-workers to communicate with you. Make sure that your music doesn’t become a higher priority than your co-workers. If someone comes to your desk, remove both of you ear phones and devote your full attention to avoid sending the signal that you are only partially listening. You should also never wear your ear phones away from your desk. It doesn’t matter if you are just going down the hall to make a copy, if you are going to step away from your desk you should leave your head phones behind.

Another helpful tip for keeping the office peace when it comes to music is to try to attain a group consensus. Have a conversation regarding the company policy and don’t hesitate to ask your co-workers if they mind if you listen to music while you work. If you all decide to play music out loud, the safest bet is to stick with mainstream music or to compromise- classical music one day, pop hits the next.

Maintaining the office harmony doesn’t mean you need to give up your music. Just make sure that you follow these basic music etiquette practices to ensure the best office surroundings for everyone.