Managing Up for Career Success

Managing Up for Career Success

In the realm of Information Technology, your prowess goes beyond coding and system management; it extends to how you interact with your superiors. This brings us to the concept of ‘managing up.’ Far from being just another piece of corporate lingo, it’s a crucial skill that shapes our workday and career trajectory. Whether you’re coding in the trenches or leading a team, getting a handle on managing up can unlock new levels of professional success. Let’s delve into what this means for us in the IT sector.

Why Managing Up is a Big Deal in IT

Managing up is essentially about creating a positive and productive relationship with your superiors. In IT, where the landscape is ever-changing and fast-paced, mastering this skill can lead to smoother project workflows, a more enjoyable work environment, and perhaps even a faster ascent in your career. It’s about making sure your efforts and those of your team don’t just disappear into the ether but are recognized and valued.

For the Individual IT Professionals

  1. Effective Communication: Keeping your boss in the loop is crucial. Regular updates about your projects, including both successes and challenges, are essential. It’s not just about sharing information; it’s about engaging in a dialogue that helps your boss understand your role and contributions better.
  2. Aligning with Your Manager’s Goals: One of the key aspects of managing up is understanding and aligning with your manager’s goals and priorities. This alignment ensures that your work directly contributes to the broader objectives of your department and organization. It’s about seeing the bigger picture and positioning your work within that framework.
  3. Taking Initiative: In the IT world, being proactive is highly valued. Don’t wait for directions for every little task. If you see a problem, come up with potential solutions. If there’s an opportunity for improvement, speak up. This approach not only showcases your problem-solving skills but also demonstrates your commitment to the team and the organization.

For Team Leaders in IT

  1. Advocating for Your Team: As a team lead, you play a pivotal role in how your team is perceived by upper management. It’s your responsibility to ensure that the team’s achievements and challenges are communicated effectively. This involves not just talking about successes but also strategically discussing what your team needs to excel, be it resources, support, or recognition.
  2. Translating Strategic Goals: One of your key roles is to act as a translator of sorts. You need to take the company’s strategic goals, as communicated by upper management, and break them down into actionable and understandable tasks for your team. This ensures that your team is working in alignment with the company’s objectives, and it also helps team members understand the value and purpose of their work.
  3. Creating a Feedback Culture: Establishing a two-way street for feedback is crucial. Encourage your team to take constructive feedback from upper management and use it as a tool for growth and improvement. Likewise, be open to receiving feedback about your own leadership and management style.

Navigating Challenges and Pitfalls

While managing up has its advantages, it also comes with its share of challenges. Miscommunications, misaligned expectations, and the risk of overstepping boundaries are real concerns. It’s important to approach managing up with a sense of balance and professionalism. It’s about building a relationship based on mutual respect and understanding, not just about advancing your own agenda.

In the dynamic world of IT, managing up is an essential skill. It can shape not just your individual projects but also your overall experience in the workplace and your career progression. By aligning with your manager’s objectives, maintaining open lines of communication, and staying one step ahead, you’re positioning yourself for success.

Navigating the Changing Job Market: Layoffs, Automation, and Opportunities

Facing deteriorating conditions in the job market, job seekers and employers must adapt and evolve to remain competitive and successful. Layoffs have increased competition for limited positions, making upskilling and continuous learning essential for job seekers. As automation and AI use continues to expand, businesses need to prioritize internal upskilling to prepare their workforce for increased technological integration. Companies can foster a culture of innovation and resilience by providing employees with opportunities to learn new skills and develop expertise in AI-driven applications, ensuring a smooth transition to an automated workplace. HR leaders must cultivate talent and implement training programs to ensure an agile workforce. Companies should focus on reskilling employees and partnering with educational institutions to create a sustainable talent pipeline. 

Collaboration between communities, companies, and educational institutions is crucial to align workforce development with market needs. By providing accessible resources, tailored technical training, and career guidance, these stakeholders can facilitate smooth transitions into evolving and new career paths. Embracing change, fostering resilience, and investing in skills and knowledge are vital in navigating the changing job market and turning challenges posed by layoffs and automation into opportunities for growth and success. By working together, individuals, businesses, and educational institutions can create a more resilient and adaptable workforce. 

Quiet Quitting or Setting Healthy Boundaries? Demystifying the Newest Global Trend

Quiet Quitting or Setting Healthy Boundaries? Demystifying the Newest Global Trend

A new controversial work phenomenon among employees is causing alarm among employers and hiring managers – Quiet Quitting. Have you heard about it?   

Picture this scenario: 

Ally has been working as a computer engineer in a medium-sized tech company for the last five years. In the last several years, she has tried her best to flow with her company – achieving highs and lows in the workplace like the rest of her colleagues. Yet lately, feelings of demotivation, disengagement, and even apathy have been marring her attitude towards work. She may still report to work, but her mind is already far from it.  

What is Quiet Quitting?  

Quiet quitting is a term that spreads on social media about employees not going above and beyond what is expected of them at work. Instead, these workers aim only to achieve the minimum, barely meeting their job description.  

What is highly alarming is that a recent Gallup poll revealed that at least 50 percent of employees in America are quiet quitters. That is one in two employees!  

This trend is concerning because most of the jobs available today require employees to go above the bare minimum to impact the company, effectively collaborate with their colleagues, and efficiently meet the needs of their clientele and other stakeholders.  

More data supports the idea that quiet quitting is rampant in the workplace.  

In the latest US work engagement data for the second quarter of this year, the proportion of engaged workers was 32 percent vis-a-vis the actively disengaged employees at 18 percent. It means that the ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees currently stands at 1.8 to 1, the lowest it has been in a decade.  

The rise of the quiet quitters started in the second half of 2021. At about the same time, the Great Resignation started to go full swing in corporate America. Surprisingly, most of the quiet quitters were initially employees coming from the managerial level. However, as the Great Resignation spilled over to 2022, the trend of quietly quitting one’s job also became evident among young employees, specifically remote Gen Z workers and millennials.  

Why Are Workers Quietly Quitting Their Jobs?  

The bottom line behind quiet quitting is essentially employee dissatisfaction at work. We need to identify why employees are not engaged at work and are not motivated to go the extra mile or give their tasks a little bit of extra effort. Let us uncover three of the top reasons behind quiet quitting.  

Worker Expectations Are Unclear or Unrealistic 

When employers and managers put too much pressure on their employees, this can backfire in a way that is detrimental to the entire company.  

A 2021 survey by Gallup revealed that 57 percent of workers in the US are stressed out. This figure is way higher than the global percentage of 43 percent. In fact, the same report says that if you are in North America, chances are you have the highest stress level among workers anywhere in the world.  

A mammoth workload, beating various deadlines, and unrealistic targets from management all take a toll on employee morale and engagement. A chaotic organizational culture, poor leadership, and lack of communication also contribute to employees feeling overstretched with work.  

If you are an employer or a manager, do you have enough manpower for your teams to meet deadlines consistently? For supervisors, were you able to set clear instructions and expectations? Were you able to communicate these with your team before setting them out to work on a task?  

A Lack of Opportunity for Employee Advancement 

Many employees who quietly quit their jobs do so because they feel their bosses and companies are not giving them enough career growth and development opportunities. When employees felt boxed in and stuck doing what they have been doing in the last several years with little to no growth opportunities, they often ask, “What is the point of doing anything then?” 

Another factor that has caused quiet quitting to grow exponentially, especially in the tech sector, is the recent layoffs of big tech companies as well as startups. These massive layoffs have made many tech workers question the value of being loyal or going the extra mile for your company when they can replace you or lay you off at a moment’s notice.  

Employees Feel That They Are Being Exploited by The Company 

Do you ever feel that you are just being exploited by your company?  

An in-depth study from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) showed that employees are more productive than ever. However, their wages in the last 40 years have mostly grown sideways compared to the salary growth of CEOs and other top management personnel. 

According to the study, from 1978 through 2000, C-suites’ salaries grew by 1,322 percent, while non-executive employees only grew their salaries by 18 percent in the last 40 years. If we factor in inflation and other economic shocks in the last four decades, it is quite safe to say that workers today are earning even less even though they are doing so much more.  

 

The Antidote to Quiet Quitting: Setting Boundaries in the Workplace 

First of all, managers should know that the antidote to quiet quitting is not quiet firing!  

Quiet firing is a passive-aggressive approach to performance management. Instead of firing employees, managers make the workplace as unpleasant as possible by withholding feedback or outrightly neglecting them.  

Quiet firing is as detrimental to your company and employees as quiet quitting. It is a reflection of poor management and a company that is on the brink of retrogression. It is extremely unhealthy.  

For employees, there are several ways that you can still have that proverbial work-life balance despite the challenges of work. You may want to do the following: 

Use Your Time Wisely 

As an employee, never forget that it is your responsibility to use your time well. Be organized and schedule your tasks so that you do not have to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously. This practice will prevent you from spending long hours in the office and will open up more time for you to do other things.  

Ask For Help When Needed 

We all know that employees usually have so much to prove. However, being the messianic hero in your company can also multiply your stress and burnout levels. So ask for help when you need it. Get in the habit of asking questions and getting advice from your colleagues on performing your tasks.  

Avoid Conflict at Work 

Counterproductive habits like gossiping and rumor-mongering dampen employee morale. Never engage in it. As much as possible, maintain a pleasant working relationship with your colleagues and bosses. The key is to communicate with them often.  

Read more: How to Identify and Respond to Microaggressions in the Workplace

Schedule Time to Rest 

Set aside time to pursue your other passions, spend time with family and friends, and get enough sleep. It may be challenging, albeit very rewarding. Life is not a race but a marathon. So take time to pause and take a break.  

For company managers and business owners, here are some ways to prevent your employees from quitting quietly. 

Help Your Team Prioritize 

Let your workers know what tasks should be finished ahead of the others, so they don’t roam your workplace with misaligned priorities. By helping them prioritize, you can also determine what resources you need to help your employees succeed. Is it more manpower? Is it a more flexible schedule?  

Offer Programs on Mental Health and Stress Reduction 

Invest in programs that help alleviate stress and support your employees’ mental well-being. Never forget that your company’s most important resource is your human resource.  

Know When to Have Fun 

Be liberal with praise and recognition. Reward your team for a job well done. Spend time with them during company lunches or a few drinks after work on a Friday night. Needless to say, foot the bill when you take them out.  

Make Changes in Their Workplace 

Beautify your employees’ workplace and make it conducive for them to grow and thrive. You may also want to consider allowing some of them to work remotely on certain days to give them more flexibility. 

 

LET FOX SEARCH GROUP HELP YOU HANDLE THE IMPACT OF NEW GLOBAL TRENDS LIKE QUIET QUITTING. 

If you are looking for a company that takes good care of its employees or if you are looking for top talent who is determined to keep themselves motivated and not just do the bare minimum, consider partnering with the Fox Search Group. Fox Search Group, a staffing agency that champions diversity, is ready to work with you in your job search and talent acquisition needs. Reach out to us today

Global Diversity Awareness Month: Expanding the Turf for Women Can Change the Trajectory of a Company

Global Diversity Awareness Month: Expanding the Turf for Women Can Change the Trajectory of a Company

For the longest time and up to this very day, women in tech remain very much underrepresented. This is especially true at the C-suite level, where women leaders in technology are by far in the minority. 

Take, for example, Gartner’s 2021 Leadership Progression and Diversity Survey. In this survey of 3,500 employees representing 24 industries, 56 percent of women who participated in the study were frontline employees. Only 29 percent of them came from the C-Suite.  

Additionally, data on the US workforce revealed that 47 percent of the active workforce were females. However, less than 28 percent of these women were in leadership positions. This huge gender gap shows that gender discrimination in the tech industry remains very much present up until now. Women in tech jobs have not only remained in the minority. They are fewer in technical roles where leadership and decision-making form part of the job description.

Women in Tech: A Real Game-Changer 

As a tech company executive or hiring manager, why should you work toward minimizing the gender gap in tech? The answer is simple. Data in the last few years reveal that companies that employ more women and minorities in their C-suite ranks tend to outperform those that don’t.  

Intensive research conducted by McKinsey revealed that companies with 30 percent or more female executives were highly likely to outperform firms with less than 30 percent female employees. In fact, there is a whopping 48 percent difference in performance and productivity, separating the more gender-diverse companies from those that are not.  

This rather compelling study becomes even more enthralling when you factor in ethnicity in addition to gender diversity. The likelihood for outperformance tends to be higher for ethnically diverse companies versus those that are not. 

Sadly, despite these glaring stats, the reality is that progress has been slow in the US and the rest of the world.  

In the same McKinsey data, the percentage of female representation in the C-suite inched up a mere 5 percent from 2014 through 2019. That amounts to just one percentage point per year. This gender gap is true across many sectors but is even more magnified in the tech sector.

Famous Women in Technology 

The slow progress in closing the gender gap is saddening because the tech industry has had a number of leading women whose power and mettle have made a difference in the companies they manage.  

Take, for example, Jacky Wright, the Chief Digital Office of Microsoft. Under Wright’s management, the tech giant has helped businesses leverage technology to drive digital transformation. Being a female and a woman of color, Wright remains at the forefront of global digital transformation while lobbying for greater inclusivity and diversity in the tech industry.  

Another fine example is YouTube CEO, Susan Wojcicki. A true woman of impact, Wojcicki led the USD1.65 billion acquisition of YouTube by Alphabet’s Google. She has run the ubiquitous video-sharing site since 2014.  

From one big tech company to another, Amazon also boasts of a dedicated Vice President for Technology in the person of Mary Best Westmoreland. Beginning her career in tech as a programmer before rising through the ranks to become a senior software engineer and finally into the C-suite, her work continues to make the e-commerce giant the most prolific player in ecommerce now and in the foreseeable future.  

Perhaps, one of the most familiar leading women in tech is Meta Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. As the COO of Meta Platforms for the last 14 years, Sandberg was instrumental in Facebook’s exponential revenue growth in the last several years. As the company pivots toward the Metaverse, Sandberg’s leadership to propel the firm to even greater heights cannot be overstated.  

Other than tech giants, there have been more companies with powerful and influential women in their higher ranks. From Walt Disney to Space X, Oracle, and Salesforce, these women leaders in technology have truly spearheaded innovation and transformation in their respective organizations.  

In fact, an optimistic projection by Deloitte Global says that the world’s top tech companies will have filled 33 percent or a third of their ranks with female employees by the end of 2022. Whether this comes to fruition or not this year, Global Diversity Awareness Month remains a vital reminder, not only to the tech sector but also to the global economy in general, of the direction we should all be taking in the workplace.

Women in Tech: Challenges and Hurdles 

The Global Diversity Awareness Month also brings challenges and hurdles women face to the fore. It is also a worthy time to reflect and attempt to mitigate the reasons behind the failure of many tech companies to implement gender equality and diversity in the workplace. The truth is various mechanisms come to play that effectively prevent women from having more active participation in leadership and decision-making at work.  

For instance, when you consider hiring for a C-suite position, you will realize that many successful hires in top management posts are largely based on networks. Most C-suite executives are heterosexual middle-aged white males whose network largely consists of the same demographic. This makes it challenging for women or other individuals from minority groups to penetrate the C-suite. 

Another challenge is that most women have to juggle other important roles that they also need to play, such as being a homemaker or a mother. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this challenge with the closure of daycare centers and other child-rearing facilities, which greatly help working mothers.  

This means that the changes that women need from the workplace transcend their home life in what could essentially be a form of systemic oppression. Women need to be provided with consistent support systems that would help them become more active players in the upper echelons of the corporate world.  

FIND THE BEST TECH COMPANIES FOR WOMEN WITH FOX SEARCH GROUP. 

As we celebrate Global Diversity Awareness Month, companies must take more concrete steps toward realizing real diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. For women and ethnic minorities currently job hunting, you can tap into channels to help you land a job in a company that truly celebrates diversity and inclusivity. This is why you should consider partnering with The Fox Search Group. 

As a female-owned organization committed to diversity, inclusivity, and equal opportunity, the company believes that race, age, and gender are no limitations. They are catalysts of innovation in any organization. Connecting reputable companies with top tech talent regardless of gender and ethnicity, the Fox Search Group’s recruiters can help you narrow that gender gap at work. Talk to one of our expert recruiters now.  

2022 a Booming Year: No Shortage of Opportunities in the Tech Industry

2022 a Booming Year: No Shortage of Opportunities in the Tech Industry

The tech industry is emerging to become the real champion of this protracted COVID-19 public health crisis. Indeed, the tech industry is the pandemic’s real silver lining. 

If recent tech mergers are any indication, the world’s leading tech giants are quickly snapping up one company after another in some of the most lucrative mergers and acquisitions in modern history. 

Data from the first half of 2021 shows that last year was a banner year for mergers and acquisitions. The numbers from financial intelligence company Refinitiv reveal that by June 30th, these mergers and acquisitions had already closed deals at a whopping $2.8 trillion. 

Tech Companies’ Continuous Expansion 

The breakneck speed with which these tech mergers have taken place and the sheer volume of money involved in acquiring various tech companies have left even experts and analysts completely astonished. 

One of the landmark acquisitions was that of Microsoft, buying speech-to-text software firm Nuance for an astounding $19.7 billion. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Singaporean ride-hailing and delivery app Grab Holdings went public in the US through a SPAC or special-purpose acquisition company valued at $40 billion. 

Big tech firms such as Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Meta seem to be in a race to acquire more companies, hoping to expand their services and influence. Surely, you have heard Apple execs say that the future is in the cloud, while Meta’s Zuckerberg has directed all his company’s efforts towards realizing the Metaverse. 

The Tech Industry in The Perfect Storm

The technology sector’s growth during the pandemic, while other industries suffered a slump, was due to the fact that the tech companies offered products and services that helped keep business operating while the pandemic raged.

Your organization would probably not survive if not for Zoom or Teams. When malls shut down, consumers still found a way to get goods through Amazon. Whether you like it or not, tech has all the answers.

The tech industry kept the global economy functional and gave societies a semblance of normalcy while lockdowns and quarantines were happening left and right. Moreover, these tech industries offered resilience amid a public health emergency. Indeed, the sector birthed terms that are now all too familiar to everyone, such as work-from-home, cloud computing, and digital migration.

The so-called “new normal” is a reality that will be ushered in, almost singlehandedly, by the tech industry. Believe it, or you better believe it—tech is here not only to stay but to lead and define boundaries for what is possible and what is to come.

Are Tech Jobs In-Demand? What Tech Jobs Are the Most In-Demand?

You guessed it. Tech jobs are hot now and will remain so in the foreseeable future. Hence, if you are a data scientist, software developer, web developer, software engineer, data engineer, computer network engineer, eCommerce technology manager, IT Manager, and the like, you are definitely in demand. There are plenty of lucrative job market sectors that are looking to hire someone like you.

According to data from the World Economic Forum, nine trends will usher in the “new normal,” and all these trends have one thing in common – they are all powered by the tech sector and the men and women working behind the tech industry.

1. Online Commerce and Contactless Delivery

Consumers are now embracing the plethora of goods that may be purchased through online shopping. Supply chain and logistics experts need to work together to ensure a seamless experience for the consumer, from online shopping to delivery. 

Additionally, you must keep abreast with the latest trends in online commerce, such as contactless delivery, wherein human-to-human contact is kept at a minimum to avoid any health hazards. This is also why robotics and data science jobs are in-demand these days. 

 

2. Digital Payments 

When was the last time you used cash to pay for something? Indeed, the tech-led new normal will be all about digital payments through cards, digital wallets, and even cryptocurrency. Aside from credit cards, digital payments now have mobile wallets, crypto wallets, and even micro-wallets. Soon, cash will truly become obsolete. This field will pave the way for more jobs in digital payment analyst and payment gateway solutions. 

 

3. Work from Home/Remote Work

The most recent edition of McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey revealed that 87 percent of Americans across all ages, demographics, geographies, and sectors prefer a flexible working arrangement. 

The study also revealed that digital innovators – those who work at the forefront of technological innovation – prefer to work remotely. That is about 77 percent of individuals working in mathematical and computer occupations. Tied with remote work is the need for data management and data security experts tasked with managing and securing data. 

 

4. Distance Learning

The mainstream attention that online learning is getting is here to stay. This calls for highly skilled individuals in virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and robotics. Furthermore, distance learning abolishes transnational borders as it enables you to learn or register for an online course regardless of geographical location. Hence, educators must learn to embrace this prevailing trend. 

 

5. Telemedicine

If you need to see your doctor, you no longer need to head over to the clinic. Instead, you simply book a “teleconsultation.” How about having your vital signs taken digitally and measured by devices? Or initial diagnoses made by chatbots? 

 The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the network of physical objects— “things”—that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies to connect and exchange data with other devices and systems via the internet. This directly impacts various sectors, such as healthcare, and the way doctors and other health professionals will handle medical data. 

This means that the still nascent Internet of Things will form a large part of your life very soon. Estimates from Business Insider, as published in Time Magazine, project that $6 trillion will be invested in IoT in the next five years and that there is $24 billion worth of IoT devices that are already installed. 

 

6. Online Entertainment

Creativity and artistic expression have also migrated online and come in the form of gaming, virtual tours, and streaming platforms. The tech industry has completely changed the meaning of entertainment and where to find it.  

For instance, in the last few years, free network television has struggled to compete with streaming entertainment, while companies like Netflix and Amazon have entirely revolutionized the moviegoing experience. Thus, online video editors, influencers, and other creative jobs will continue to rise in the coming years. 

 

7. Tech Industry-Led Supply Chain

The world has just emerged from the pandemic curbs severely disrupting the supply chain. Yet, despite the setback, data science breakthroughs in Big Data, cloud computing, the Internet of Things, and Blockchain are now coming up with more resilient supply chain management systems by improving data accuracy and encouraging data sharing. 

During the low-tech era, the supply chain industry mostly referred to factory inventory and transportation logistics. However, with the birth of Big Data and cloud computing, forecasting supply and demand in the next few years may be performed with near-perfect accuracy. 

 

8. Robotics

If you were once working for retail, food, manufacturing, logistics, and the hospitality industry pre-pandemic, you most likely know how severely hit these industries were because they are very labor-intensive. Thanks to robots and drones, these services may already be delivered sans any human interaction. 

Advances in robotics may take over virtually all sectors of your company that can be automated. This is why you now find restaurants being served by robots, factories being manned by bots instead of humans, and driverless cars will soon become ubiquitous in many cities. 

 

9. Information Technology and 5G

The tech industry relies on stable and high-speed internet to make things work. With this, the expansion of 5G promises to make the innovative services of tech companies available to a broader population. Experts predict that 5G will reach its full potential in 2035. By then, 5G will be able to connect everything, including machines, devices, and objects. This will also make the internet more reliable, with higher performance and increased efficiency.  

 

LOOKING FOR TOP TECH TALENT? PARTNER WITH THE FOX SEARCH GROUP. 

Are you looking to be actively involved and connected in further shaping any of these trends and have a rewarding tech career? 

Fox Search Group aims to connect great companies with great tech talent. Fully cognizant that the tech industry is only as good as the talent working behind it, the company has made it a mission to serve and cultivate potential candidates for their dream tech sector or dream company. 

If you are an innovator in robotics, the Internet of Things, data security, cloud computing, and other positions in tech, the Fox Search Group aims to collaborate with you and connect you to the right career opportunity in the industry in this golden age of tech. Contact us now!