Have you been asked to write a letter of recommendation? Was it…
- to recommend a colleague or someone you supervised?
- as ghost writer for your supervisor to recommend a coworker?
- for yourself when you asked for a letter of recommendation?
When I receive an uptick in queries about letters of recommendation, it means more people are closing in on positions, which is great. What can be tough is navigating the delicate world of letters of recommendation.
Two articles nicely address important issues for drafting letters for yourself or others:
When Someone Asks You for a Reference by Rebecca Knight in HBR at https://hbr.org/2015/10/when-someone-asks-you-for-a-reference
How to write a letter of recommendation – for yourself by Dr. Adaira Landry & Dr. Resa E. Lewiss in Fast Company at https://www.fastcompany.com/90757084/how-to-write-a-letter-of-recommendation-for-yourself
Key takeaways are:
1. Give Context
Establish how the letter signatory knows the person being recommended
2. Give Data
Save superlative conclusions about character for your close. For the body of your letter, provide objective accomplishments that show someone’s capabilities.
3. Be Honest
Preserve your reputation and only write a letter if you can truly recommend the person. Conversing with the requester about strengths and job requirements will help you decide if you want to put your name on the line. Politely refuse if you would not hire the person for that role.
If someone writes a letter of recommendation for you, be sure to follow up with a thank you and an update on the position. If they care enough to write the letter, they surely are interested in the outcome.
What are your experiences requesting or writing letters of recommendation?
An increasing number of young adults struggle when adjusting to new work environments. These 4 steps will help your new hires succeed.
The United Nations and the World Health Organization warn that emerging adults will suffer increasing mental health issues for the next 10 years. Adjusting HR practices will improve the onboarding of new hires.
Four important steps will help these new hires succeed in your organization: know your audience, reset expectations, deliver bite-sized instructions, and repeat often.
1. Know your audience
Employers have complained that over the last 20 years, new hires have worsened at adjusting to professional workplaces, showing difficulty engaging with colleagues, clients, and supervisors. The Coronavirus pandemic grossly accelerated this trend by increasing the percentage of youth and young adults experiencing mental health issues.
If you hire young adults, know that an increasing percentage of your candidates experience stress and depression, and that this trend will continue for a decade.
2. Reset expectations
Rather than seeking candidates with high achievements and accolades, we will do better to focus on those who have developed skills for adapting and learning.
Unlike achievements, skills are transferable, repeatable, and directly applicable to your organization. Skills reflect adaptability and the ability to learn, increasing a candidate’s likelihood of success. Skills indicate the ability to recreate success in a new environment.
3. Deliver bite-sized instructions
Clarify those basic assumptions you think needn’t be said; spell them out in small, simple steps.
Clearly stating expected behavior before its execution helps new hires focus their behavior. You are giving them two jobs: to make good introductions and to learn about the client. You did so by breaking those two jobs down into three simple actions:
For those already performing well, your primary objectives are clear. For those who need help executing this expected behavior, they have opportunity to perform. For new hires who simply cannot perform, they will still not perform. Thus, you are not propping up those who should not be in the role, you are simply helping those who can perform do so smoothly and quickly.
4. Repeat these instructions often
After the meeting, provide feedback on their efforts. Affirming what you liked always helps. Avoid negative feedback unless something must be addressed.
For future meetings, provide quick reminders and then shift to having the new hire present to you their meeting goals. These repetitions will train them to self-manage their preparation.
Health experts warn us that for several years coming, emerging adults will struggle adjusting to new environments. Modifying onboarding will increase success:
When executed well, onboarding will bring out the best in our emerging adults, helping them contribute in unique and masterful ways.