Retaining Female Employees: How?

Ran across this article posted last week (July 10, 2018), which followed an earlier article on the importance of hiring women. I will post a link to the entire article below, but here are some highlights:

  • Flexibility in the work schedule! Duh, we talk about this daily as we seek to enlighten employers to the large percentage of women that would choose flexibility over a pay raise. 
  • Offering benefits that cater to women-- even the ability to work from home when children are out of school or home sick. See above in Flexibility!
  • Structuring the compensation package based on Results rather than Office-Face-Time. This eliminates the gender pay-gap and holds everyone accountable to their duties and responsibilities. It also means that if you are achieving results working from home, then it shouldn't matter. See above in Flexibility! 
  • Promoting Women into leadership roles. Put simply, it can lead to an increase in net revenues. 

Enjoy! Have a great week!

The Versher Team

 https://www.nashvillechamber.com/blog/2018/4-meaningful-strategies-to-retain-female-employees

Flexible Workstyle: Global Issue

Check out this article from BizCommunity.com out of South Africa. The author, Phillipa Geard, gives presentations to company executives on how to retain skilled women, the value-add that women decision makers have within a company and how an organization can do this effectively. What struck me in reading this article is that in 2018 we still need professionals across the globe to educate The Corporate World on this matter. Thank you, Phillipa, on bringing the community of those that seek work-life balance closer together: we echo your mission! 

http://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/362/172159.html

Julie Damp on Wishing for a Teleporter

Welcome back Versher Community! I heard a commercial on the radio this morning for CVS Pharmacy touting this year as "You and Improved". The slogan stuck with me as I appreciated the message of remaining You: that You do not need to become someone else, just maybe throw in a small dose of vitamins this year! 

Speaking of health, we welcome Dr. Julie Damp to our community. Read on as she shares some of her go-to tips for finding balance between work, family, friends and herself! 

 

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1.     What do you do for work outside the home?

I am a cardiologist at Vanderbilt.  I do clinical patient care and am involved locally and nationally in medical education. 

2.     Describe your family – kids’ ages, grades—and any extracurricular activities in which your family participates

Our family includes my husband (an emergency room physician), our three kids (11 year old daughter and 9 and 6 year old sons), 2 dogs, and me.  We have a house of constant activity!  Between the 3 kids, we are involved in soccer, basketball, tennis, dance, piano, violin, and chess.

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3.     Describe a typical weekday—morning routine, afternoon school pickup, evening

Well, it is a little hard to describe typical – it all depends on the day of the week and what shift my husband is working! I typically exercise at 5 or 5:30 am 3-4 times a week. I (or the two of us) get the kids ready and to school.  My work day differs quite a bit depending on the day of the week, but I head off to see patients, read echocardiograms, or do administrative/teaching duties.  In the afternoons, either my husband or our sitter usually does pickup, homework, and practices of the day.  The evening - dinner, reading, baths, bedtime routine – is either me or the two of us (again depending on his schedule).  Once the kids are asleep, I usually am headed that way right after!

4.     How do you tackle a week’s worth of meals? Prepare over the weekend? Or day by day?

I try to cook a large meal early in the week that we can have for a few days.  Then I have groceries on hand for easy to prepare things later in the week.  I usually do the planning for the whole week on Sunday. I also try to cook ahead and freeze too – it is a huge help to be able to pull something from the freezer on busier weeks!

5.     Describe some of the household chores/responsibilities that your husband manages

My husband is very involved and hands on. We share a lot of the day to day – laundry, dishes, etc – whoever sees that it needs doing and has time to do it!  On days off, he also will happily take care of any “To-Do” lists!  

6.     What solutions have you found that you rely on each week to make your life’s pieces connect?

Support!  We have someone that comes to help with the cleaning and our sitter helps with a lot of the kids’ household stuff (their laundry, organizing/straightening up, errands).  This is key to me being able to relax and be mom when I am home as well as focus on work when I am at work. 

7.     If you could invent anything that would improve your daily routine, what would it be?

Something that made me need less sleep!   Or maybe a teleporter…!

8.     We talk about balance all the time--- What do you do that’s just for you that enables you to balance your family with your career?

-         Exercise.  It has so many positive benefits, and it really helps me keep my sanity and feel strong for my kids. 

-         Relationships. Maintaining close and good relationships with friends and family – whether it’s a date lunch with my husband, girls night, or a phone call to my sister/a friend/a colleague to vent and laugh about something – helps me keep myself open and happy.

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9.     How do you deal with the pressure to be present in your kids’ lives but also at work?

Oh, this is always such a work in progress! I try my best to not get knotted up about things or chase goals that won’t really matter at the end of the day.  We can not be everything to everyone all the time, and accepting this has allowed me to say “enough” at times when my general nature might have pushed me to work myself into the ground.  I try to communicate well at home and at work, so each understands if there is a moment, day, or week when I need to have more focus elsewhere.  I do not try to be the best or to be perfect, but I do try to do my best, be open with those around me, and cut myself some slack.  One of my mentors told me once that as we juggle all of the balls of life, we have to remember that the only that is glass is our family. 

10.     What keeps you motivated and positive when inside you are neither?!

For me, this is prayer and reflection.  These help me refocus on what my motivation is (or should be) and help me remember what, in the end, really matters.  Then I am able to put the things that are causing me to feel unmotivated and negative into proper perspective. 

11.        Do you have specific boundaries that you adhere to separate work from home?

For me, inflexible boundaries have not worked well.  I seem to do better when work and home are on a continuum and when I am able to communicate the needs of one with the other.  This allows my work to accommodate when I need flexibility, and I hope allows my kids to understand the impact I can have on others through my work (and that they can have one day through theirs!). 

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12.        Is there a latest “you won’t believe this” story about your life that you would like to share?

Probably like most moms, I feel like these happen to me on an almost daily basis.  If we all wrote them down as we went, we could write book after book!

13.         What is your dream job?

Honestly, for now I kind of feel like I have it.  I have the great privilege of taking care of people, and I have the honor of teaching those who will be taking care of people long after I have stopped.  I am able to do this in an environment that allows me the flexibility to be an involved and present mom. 

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Thank you Julie! If you do run across a teleporter, please let us know as it would make navigating this traffic much easier!

Cheers to You and Improved in 2018!

 

Stephanie Huffman on wine without calories in a kitchen sans countertops

Happy November!

Meet Stephanie Huffman: a member of the Screen Actor's Guild as a professional voice over and actress, a published author and a businesswoman. As founder of Epiphany Creative Services, her company's mission is to help their clients find their "aha" moments. Today, however, we are interested in how she finds those of her own! 

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1. What do you do for work outside the home?

Networking events, boards I am on, client and team meetings, etc.  I also speak on the topic of time, energy and resources to organizations and conferences. I created a vision tool called The Grid back in 2009, and placed it as a special section in my book which I wrote in 2008.

 The Grid, Stephanie's tool outlined in her book, teaches you to evaluate your goals and how you spend your time and determine if the two are aligned, allowing you (or your organization) to achieve your highest potential.

The Grid, Stephanie's tool outlined in her book, teaches you to evaluate your goals and how you spend your time and determine if the two are aligned, allowing you (or your organization) to achieve your highest potential.

2. How do you tackle a week’s worth of meals? Prepare over the weekend? Or day by day?

I have been working to change this up lately. I used to shop every Friday after my last client meeting. Now, I have been pricing meal delivery systems. I very much enjoy having healthy foods on hand however, and cooking. I am currently in the process of completely remodeling my kitchen, so I imagine I will stick with cooking for myself…for a bit longer. Until the newness wears off. I even downsized the refrigerator during that process and have gone very minimalistic. I enjoy going to the grocery store. But my go to is now a toaster oven and the microwave. It must either go into a tortilla, is cold or raw, or is snackable. That’s how I cook!

3. What solutions have you found that you rely on each week to make your life’s pieces connect?

My mornings are sacred. I have a long quiet time each morning with coffee, my phone and other encouraging items on the side table. I have prayer and meditation during that time. I in one leather chair in my kitchen and my black lab Bosco in the other. He knows the drill and the routine. So he sleeps during that time.  I review my emails and mentally work through my to do list and look at the day, the week and the month and begin prioritizing my day. One thing I do to enhance my life is audio books. I am an avid audiobook listener (business/leadership books) and I do all of my reading in the car. (wink)

 Bosco, Stephanie's faithful companion

Bosco, Stephanie's faithful companion

4. If you could invent anything that would improve your daily routine, what would it be?

You know, in this world with so many wonderful gadgets, I can’t imagine it’s not already out there. I would have to answer this, then, by saying, wine with no calories.

5. We talk about balance all the time--- What do you do that’s just for you that enables you to balance life with your career?

I have recently hired a Task Fairy. Some might refer to this position as a personal assistant, but I think this term fits her much better. She has helped me organize my basement, order my new cabinets and appliances for my kitchen, helped my mother with her computer and even styled and selected my clothes for a recent business trip to name a few things. She also scheduled a spa day for me and made me go. I am considering having her come over once a week to select my clothes/outfits for the coming week.

6. What keeps you motivated and positive when inside you are neither?

Wine and prayer…in that order. But what I guess, what I should say is, it’s the realization that things truly could be much worse. I had the privilege of experiencing quite a bit of travel early on in life and it left a deep impression on me. I even had a chance to go behind the Iron Curtain before it fell. Even on my worst day, I know it’s better than what I have seen others go through. I can walk, breathe, eat, drink and pay my bills in complete freedom. Does it get much better than that?

7. Do you have specific boundaries that you adhere to separate work from home?

Yes. My team knows I very much try to take Sunday’s off. In marketing, that’s not always possible, and as we have a more “white-glove” approach with our clients, it’s a challenge, but I do work hard to keep that time for me.

8. Is there a latest “you won’t believe this” story about your life that you would like to share?

Yes. I decided to remodel my kitchen and began that Labor Day weekend so it would be ready by Thanksgiving. Then, had to go out of town to a conference. Right after I returned home, my mother went into spine surgery and I had to care for her 24/7. The cabinets arrived at that time. 50% were damaged and they had to re-order. The electrical was all wrong and so I had to bring in an electrician for additional work. Now I am being told I’ll have my shell of a kitchen through November and then the real deal Christmas. If I do go ahead and provide Thanksgiving dinner, I will do it sans countertops. Sigh…

9. What is your dream job?

I actually think I am living it. But if I can move into more speaking full time, that might be the icing on the cake.

Thank you Stephanie for your valuable insight. We admire your daily journey of balancing a career in doing what you love while putting processes in place to prevent burnout. You can catch more of Stephanie's wit and wisdom on www.stephaniehuffman.org and read an excerpt from her book here. Be sure to check out the Holidays chapter on page 55!

Holly Coltea on Finding Balance

Wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, volunteer, business owner. Sound familiar? Read how Holly manages all these roles in her life, what is most important and maybe take away a tip to apply to your own workweek.

 Image credit: Lulu Lemon

Image credit: Lulu Lemon

Holly Coltea is not unlike a lot of us: a working wife and mom of three girls striving to maintain a greater perspective while simultaneously ensuring that the daily to-do's are done at the end of each day. Read on to hear how she finds her balance:

V: What do you do for work outside the home?

HC: I own 2 franchises in Nashville, TN.  The franchise is called barre3, which equally focuses on nutrition, exercise, and community.

V: Describe your family (kids' ages) and activity involvement

HC: I have a husband and three girls ages 7, 9, and 11. What don’t we participate in? Theater, soccer, basket ball, gymnastics, golf, and tennis. 

V: Describe a typical weekday

HC: If I am disciplined, I will wake up early to work out at 6am. OR…I will sleep until 6:30. Get dressed in my uniform: yoga pants and a branded barre3 shirt with a barre3 sweatshirt. Branding, Branding, Branding!

  •  I will get breakfast started and usher my 3 littles into their days. We load up by 7:30 for school drop off, which is around the block from me. Thank goodness!
  • Back at home, I finish cleaning the kitchen up and check in on email for a few minutes before heading into the studios to either teach or take a class (if I didn’t wake up early!). 
  • By mid morning, I need to clean up for a networking lunch, meeting or appointment.
  • I might cram in a few more minutes at the computer—bill paying, payroll, organizing calendar, planning events, or email correspondence.
  • By 2:30, it is almost school pick up time for my girls! My favorite part of the day. It is time to try and shut off work and be mom.
  • From 3:30 until 6, it’s go time. Cooking dinner, homework, cleaning up, lunch packing, bath time.
  • Bed time for them (and me!) starts about 7:30. By the end of 1 hour of books and tucking in, I am ready myself to hit the hay. I have learned the hard way that I can’t talk business or work on business at night before I go to bed. I try to use the evenings to wind down and get to bed as soon as I can. I find myself racing against the clock. Sleep is everything to me.
 Image credit: Lulu Lemon

Image credit: Lulu Lemon

V: How do you tackle a week's worth of meals? Prepare over the weekend or take it day by day?

HC: A wonderful help has been Shipt—the Pubix app where I can order groceries online and have them delivered. This delivery service cuts out the shopping time, which allows me to spend more time cooking and giving my kids thoughtful choices. As for the week’s meals, we will sometimes grill 8 chicken breasts and eat off them for the week. Rather than having a hot meal every night, my goal is to deliver an animal protein, a fruit and a veggie at every dinner. When I cook like this, it allows my family to make it their own. For example, if I do ground turkey once/week then I can do tacos or quesadillas for the girls, and my husband and I can do a taco salad. Everyone is happy!

V: How does your husband help out around the house?

HC: My husband and I have a nice understanding that he is outside and I am inside. He is very detailed with our yard and does it without any help. He also does bulk shopping for us. Costco is his best friend! It relieves me from having to lug toilet paper through the grocery store and reduces our trips and money spent on food and household supplies.

V: What solutions have you found that you rely on each week to make your life’s pieces connect?

HC: I have someone who helps me with laundry. Taking this out of my daily list of chores has been tremendously liberating. This same person helps me keep my 3 girls’ rooms organized and picked up. This allows me to sigh deeply (with relief) when they are messy. I now stress less on the weekends, knowing that someone is coming to help me on Monday. Before, I would follow behind them picking up and scold them for playing too hard or being too messy.

V: If you could invent anything that would improve your daily routine, what would it be?

HC: A four-day work week. I am able to connect so much better with my family and friends over these long weekends. I am also more motivated to get my work done more efficiently in 4 days.

V: We talk about balance all the time. What do you do that’s just for you allowing you to balance your family with your career?

HC: When I am feeling run down, I get Chinese Bodywork done. Reflexology or deep, intensive massage. This forces me to lie flat and listen to what my body is telling me. I love Reflexology because it reveals things about my body that I may not even be aware of. I also love to sit on my porch early in the morning and read my devotional. After that, I love to meditate on the reading. It starts my day with listening to the sounds of nature…and helps me remember just how small we all are compared to the powerful natural world around us.

V: How do you deal with the pressure to be present in your kids’ lives but also at work?

HC: Kids have forced me to find balance. I often think about whether I would have survived having a business as a single woman. The fact that I have these 3 little chicks, cheering me on but also needing my attention has allowed me to be OK with doing the best I can. After all, doing the best I can is all I can do. When the day ends, kissing my family goodnight is really all that matters. If I am not present for that, then my whole reason of being an entrepreneur is for naught!

 Image credit: Ashley Hylbert for Cindi Earl Fine Jewelry

Image credit: Ashley Hylbert for Cindi Earl Fine Jewelry

V: What keeps you motivated and positive when inside you are neither?!

HC: Sleep—if I feel gunky, it is more than likely because I am wiped out. Additionally, taking a barre3 class makes me fall in love with the company all over again. Just being in the studio and around such inspiring, motivating women and men keeps me going.

V: Do you have specific boundaries to which you adhere to separate work from home?

HC: I like to keep work and home employees separate. For instance, we have incredible child care at barre3 and many of our employees have babysat for me personally. However, now that they work for barre3, I no longer have them babysit for me at home. I like to keep business and personal affairs as separate as I can.

V: Is there a latest “you won’t believe this” story about your life that you would like to share?

HC: You won’t believe that I get to motivate and inspire people for a living. I am often brought to tears during a barre3 class because of how grateful I am that THIS is my career.

V: What is your dream job?

HC: Owning my own business with lots of flexibility and on the wellness space

Thank you to Holly for giving us a peek into your life! Personally, I like the invention of the 4-day work week. And if you ever run into Holly at Trader Joe's, follow her around; she knows the best of the best at TJ's..... but that's a conversation for another post! 

 

 

 

 

What is Balance?

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We talk a lot about work-life balance. We read a lot more about work-life balance. Everyone is constantly striving for more balance in their lives it seems. There's bb cream and cc cream for achieving that perfect balance in our skin tone. There's barre classes to perfect the balance between stillness and cardio exercise. There are bars to eat that promise to deliver the necessary balance of nutrients. And of course, there is the fidget spinner that challenges us to balance a spinning gadget on our finger. And yet when I think about balance, I think of a seesaw and how it moves up and down and up and down as the weights on each side fight for equal pressure. Balance is not about achieving perfection, it's an internal tug-of-war between our time and...our time. As we fight to balance our careers with our children, our spouses, our parents, our friends, our pets, is there comfort knowing that the seesaw is going to move?

Welcome to the Versher community. We hope to bring you a weekly dose of stories from women like you who are on the quest for work-life balance: stories that make you laugh, provide insight or maybe stories that comfort you knowing you are not on this journey alone. What pushes you through your day when you have been up all night with a sick child? What puts a smile on your face when inside you are defeated and drained? Are you at your best early in the morning or are you hitting your stride late at night? We welcome your feedback and comments on the content and we look forward to strengthening the quality of your workstyle.

See you next week...

Choosing a profession as it relates to the gender pay gap

 image: SafteyNet

image: SafteyNet

Often times, after taking time off from working outside the home, women think about "doing something else." We see a lot of resumes with years of experience in one industry with the individual behind that resume who wants to take her skills and put them to use in a different field. But where to begin? How do we choose an industry that will offer the best work-life balance while still offering a fair paycheck?

This article from Apres offers some advice and evidence that might help you fill in the gaps (pun intended!).

https://apresgroup.com/pay-gap-flexibility-guide/

Post-Interview Thank you tips

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Few things bore me more than a thank-you note that begins with "Thank you for...." I realize that it is tempting and easy to get right to the point of why you are writing a note in the first place; but in the space of job-searching, a boring thank-you does not bring you back for a second round interview. Put into practice these fabulous tips from Myka Meier on how to make your post-interview note stand out from the crowd. And don't be afraid to use these same principals when writing your Aunt Martha! 

https://www.dixie-design.com/blogs/from-the-desk-of-dixie

Tech Tuesday Email Tips

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How many emails do you receive in 1 day? Before noon? A lot. If you are like me, one of the first things I do in my day is sit down and begin the deletion of all my emails. Then I begin writing my own emails. But how do we get the response we want from our own? Emails are too often ignored, misunderstood, taken out of context and ultimately trashed. 

This article written by Sara McCord gives 2 excellent tips on writing concise emails that give a call to action, if that's what you want!


What is the motivator?

 image: Working Mother

image: Working Mother

We get asked all the time, "Why would a talented, proven professional "give up" their career to work part-time?" The answer lies in the the question: "What is the motivator?" Firstly, no one is giving up their career. Secondly, a flexible work schedule does not always mean you are just working part-time; it simply means, you enjoy a better work-life balance. As the study shows in the article below, women are motivated more by flexibility in their workstyle than the size of the paycheck. What motivates you?

 http://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/why-work-yourself-women-want-flexibility-men-want-control-n774311

 

 

International Women's Day....what is it? why did it start? where are we now?

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Did you know that IWD started in the early 1900's? Long before the political drama of today, women were fighting the system over equal pay, voting rights and reduced working hours. Did you know that 15,000 women took to the streets of Manhattan in 1908 to bring an awareness to these issues? It was never about political parties, blue states, red states or poll numbers, but about the recognition that women matter. We are equally as important. We are equally as talented. We are to be equally respected. 

It's 2017 and we have the technology for driver-less cars and McMansions on Mars. And yet, 100 years since that first march in New York, the fight for equal pay and the need for greater flexibility in our work-life balance is still the same. 

Since 1913 , March 8th has been declared International Women's Day and is celebrated around the globe; the accomplishments and achievements of women everywhere are celebrated. I am reminded of the mission of my all-girls high school: teaching girls to Think Critically, to Lead Confidently, and to Live Honorably. 

For more on IWD, please visit their website:

https://www.internationalwomensday.com/

 

Flexible working is smart working

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Flexible working is smart working, according to Richard Branson. He understands that attracting top talent means you must think outside of the traditional workplace structure. Between phones, tablets, laptops, robots, we have created a corporate culture that expects you to answer emails, phone calls, tweets at all hours of the day, every day of the week. With that in mind, why not allow your employees the flexibility to better manage their work life with their private life?  

https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/flexible-working-is-smart-working