Saturday, June 01, 2013

A Jobsearch Coach vision and plan: Step One now completed.

Last weekend I created quite a few motivation posters for the jobsearch centre, to encourage and inspire my clients to break out of their jobsearch ruts and regain enthusiasm and drive to make their employment goals a reality. My aim was to introduce a bit of colour and positivity to the bland room. (You can read my post about this here).

Knowing the 'big wig' manager that I work with (and turn to when my immediate site manager is unable to help me and of whom I have a great relationship in amongst all the poor ones) was on site for a full week, I took my finished posters in to work with me on Monday, and in a private meeting shared with my plans and vision for changes to the jobsearch centre. I was pleased to receive the go ahead to 'redecorate' the jobsearch centre on Friday afternoon during clean up (the earliest possible free time any of us might have; and actually instead of me doing clean up because this was a sort of clean up in its own right) and, actually, was then ordered that my proposed changes must occur all thanks to my very convincing argument as to why changes need to be implemented and the ideas I was offering as solutions addressing each and every multiple problem raised.

So all week the two of us kept the plan a secret -- she didn't want anyone else knowing what we had up my sleeve until it was happening -- and I got through a very tough, extremely tiring week because I had this 'dream finally being realised' changes upcoming to see me through.

What I didn't know was, the 'big wig' manager discussed my intentions with Head Office and all the other 'big wigs' (there are plenty of them, sometimes it feels like there is more managers overseeing the staff than there is actual workers). Each of them, apparently, became excited by what I was going to do, and they all then came up with additional ideas... and developed plans that the second jobsearch centre and other sites should probably do something as motivating and inspiring too.  So, they made purchases and gave the receptionists some 'craft' work to complete in addition to their usual duties.

Friday afternoon arrives, my direct newbie colleague, the big wig and myself set to task of recreating the jobsearch centre while the other semi-related team staff did the standard clean up of vacuuming and cleaning of the office (company is still skinflint and won't hire commercial cleaners, buy hey if they want to have their higher paid staff doing work that can be done a whole lot cheaper in the big picture situation then so be it).  Big wig manager proudly and excitedly (but ignorantly) tells me of the 'alterations' to my vision that Head Office have come up with -- completely undermining the underlying reasons for why I wanted some specific changes to be made.

Instead of getting upset, I just said 'no' and explained this was MY idea, MY vision and none of what the changes they are proposing are in keeping with what I am trying to achieve, so no, we are not implementing those changes.  Not until MY vision is up on the wall for everyone to see and understand. (Think of an artist - they've just painted a masterpiece painting, and then the gallery owner starts giving suggestions on making alterations -- let's just politely say that such 'suggestions' don't go down well and call it at that.)  I have to say, I don't think my big wig manager expected to hear 'no' to the head office ideas -- but she indulged me.

Once the room was completed, I'm happy to report, non of the alterations from my original plan were re-suggested or insisted upon -- biggest smiling face here!

And the feedback was fantastic!  I, like most people want to receive praise for a job well done, so was happy when each staff member saw the rearrangement of tables and chairs, the new noticeboards and inspirational quote posters. Suddenly, staff that had been miserable all week, were suddenly happy and enthused to come up with changes 'like this' for the other jobsearch centre that they are in charge of, suddenly, they are talking about new and fresh ways of helping their clients 'starting next week' when they clients will discover their new jobsearch centre.  None of the other team staff want THEIR jobseeker clients to remain miserable in that jobsearch room while OUR clients get to feel so positive and inspired.

Other managers 'dropped in' to our site unexpectedly - having heard about the planned changes and wanting to come in and see what has been done so they could then add their own suggestions on how to make it even better - only to walk around the room, read each of the quote posters, and voice their approval of the new look and feel of the room, and then tell me 'you've done a great job, well done'.

The phrases that were tossed about within their positive feedback that has made my day, included: 'it looks really inviting', 'it looks really professional', 'it is subtly powerful and positively motivating', 'wow, I love this quote', 'oh, that quote is so true'... and the best feedback of all: 'if I were a jobseeker, I would like coming to this room now; I'd feel like success is about to happen'.

And the next good thing that came from this is that the big wig manager has now also approved of me introducing new rules for my clients to follow - changes that I have asked previously, but never been given permission to carry out, such as introducing a no food and drink (except bottled water) policy -- I am an Employment Consultant / Case Manager / Jobsearch Trainer Coach Mentor, not a clean up after you mother.

I can't hardly wait for Monday to arrive; I'm really looking forward to seeing the reaction of some of my long term clients.  Some of the complaints that they have been making to me, they will finally see that they have been really listened to and fought for.  I hope they become as enthused as the staff became (which I wasn't expecting, by the way, but for which I am extra pleased with myself about).

I have always felt like I was making a difference with my clients since I started working in this industry... but this one change has already made me feel like some of the 'shadow side' to this industry is worth all the anger, frustration and heartache.  Here's to next week being a really great one!

(PS. Sorry I can't put up photos to show how good it all looks).

Update.  My jobseeker clients liked the changes to the walls, but as half-expected were none too keen with the new rules implemented. All the clients are competing to help each other out by finding jobs that they can't apply for and let others know about it - so this part has been an instant success.  The Tuesday Thursday group have already got interviews up on the wall, so I am disappointed with my group not having any, but as soon as I get just one client telling me they have an interview, I am going to make a huge fuss about it in front of the rest of that group so they can catch on that it is a good thing.

My offsider and I were called into a meeting with the manager on Thursday and congratulated - both my offsider and I nearly fell over with being told we are doing something right (the company just doesn't ever see the good in their staff usually, only the bad) - and I am not surprised that because of the success and inspiration that has occurred in our site, management is now implementing the new jobsearch centre rules across all sites.

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