26 www.blackeoejournal.com Black EOE Journal
Working from home can be an asset for those with needs that are easier to address at home than at a workplace.
How can I identify an employer's values?
Lets say you already know and can articu- late your own work values. How can you elicit what an employer values? 1. Employees. Communicating with current or past employees of an organization is a great way to learn about an organizations values. Whether through personal contacts, social media connections or by reviewing a website that lists previous employees feedback about their employer, you can learn a great deal. Keep in mind that the feedback reflects their individual experience, though, so it may not relate to your own experience with the same employer. 2. Annual reports. You can learn a lot about what an employer is proud of through reviewing their annual report, where they note successes, growth, history, key initiatives and financial status. 3. Employer websites. These often include the size of their workforce, hiring policies and job openings. Also check recent press releases for news about plant expansions, new product roll-outs or sponsorship of events. 4. News. Research anything written or said about the organization in the media. Have they been recognized for donations and volunteer work in the community? Criticized for treating employees unfairly? Profiled for innovations in their field? Or identified in a best places to work list?
What if I don't really understand my own work values?
If you dont really have a handle on whats important to you in a job or the type of cul- ture you work in, consider the six universal values and what that would look like in the workplace. The six universal values are Support, Recognition, Achievement, Working Conditions, Independence, Relationships. For example: A position or workplace where Indepen- dence is featured often has these qualities: Employees are able to determine the best approach for a project or task. Employees are supported or even expected to use creativity to problem-solve challenges. The organization provides clear direction or goals for workers, but then lets the workers manage their own time. Workers feel empowered to resolve issues and complaints on their own. Employees input is invited and welcomed by co-workers and managers. The employer listens to employee ideas and provides feedback. Employees (in roles like yours) operate with little or no supervision. Risk taking is considered part of the work culture. Working from home/flexible hours may be part of the organizations approach. For employer research or informational interviews, use these questions to learn how the employer views Independence: How would you describe the organizations approach to risk taking? In your experience, how does the organization view individual initiative to solve problems? Do you find the organization open to employee input? Could you describe any channels the organization has for soliciting employee input? For job interviews, these questions will help clarify opportunities to express your value for Independence: How would you describe your supervision style with employees? How do you prefer employees handle issues and problems that come up? Could you describe the level of autonomy in this position? Im wondering what opportunities there might be for taking initiative in this role. Could you comment on that?
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