Talent Development Centre

All posts by Eagle Talent

Contractor Quick Poll: How often do you restart your cell phone?

Almost everybody has a cell phone of some sort. As different as they come, they all have one absolute thing in common — they all turn off. Many experts recommend that we regularly restart our phones, to give it a reboot and allow apps to refresh. Still, regardless of their warnings, not everybody does. If they do, it may not happen as frequently as it should.

This month, we’re asking our readers, independent contractors who are technology experts, how often you reset your cell phone? Regardless of your answer, do you find it helps your phone’s performance? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

What Does the Future of ITSM Hold, According to ITSM Professionals

The best way to predict the future of any industry is to talk directly with those who are working in it every day. That’s exactly what ITSM.tools and ManageEngine did earlier this year when they set out to understand the future of corporate IT organizations and, more specifically, IT Service Management (ITSM). With a mission to avoid standard ITSM survey questions, they asked ITSM professionals ten questions related to potential future challenges and opportunities.

The survey resulted in their IT Service Management Future Readiness Report which discusses new technologies and changing IT roles.  You can see all of the details on their website, but if you’d like a quick summary, check out this infographic which ManageEngine also created. In summary, ITSM professionals are predicting a challenging future. Would you agree?

What Does the Future of ITSM Hold, According to ITSM Professionals

Bookkeeping 101 for Independent Contractors

Perhaps the biggest challenge of taking the leap from being a full-time IT employee to an independent technology contractor is learning the ins and outs of running your business. While your prime responsibility continues to be delivering on your IT projects, you can’t ignore your accounting and tax obligations.

If you’re considering a change, don’t be intimidated by the administrative work that comes along with the countless benefits of working for yourself. Instead, take a breath and watch this video from Dice to get some helpful bookkeeping tips for those starting out in the contracting world.

Those Non-Technical People Who Work on a Tech Project

Those Non-Technical People Who Work on a Tech ProjectUnderstanding the basics of technology is a must for any employee or contractor who wants to be involved in an innovative organization. Regardless of a person’s role, if they want to be on board with the organization’s latest tools and use them efficiently, they must be somewhat savvy in the high-level technology skills.

According to Undercover Recruiter, the most basic tech skills every employee should have do not require intense code training or learning how to take apart a computer. In fact, they’re skills that most of us take for granted, including:

  1. Social media savviness
  2. Spreadsheeting
  3. Presentation skills
  4. Word processing
  5. Touch typing
  6. Keyboard shortcuts
  7. Emailing
  8. Staying with the times

Still, we often come across team members or even leaders who have not bothered to learn or update these skills in years. They end up misunderstanding situations or slowing down projects.

Dealing with a client’s employees who do not understand technology, or even technical contractors who don’t understand the subject at hand, can be a frustrating ordeal; however, it’s also a reality that we need to adapt to. While there is little we can do about teaching people proper typing skills or how to use LinkedIn appropriately, you can control how you explain details to them to ensure better comprehension. In a recent article, The Muse shared four ways to explain tech concepts to non-tech co-workers. Here’s a brief summary:

  • Bring Out Your Inner Shakespeare: Compare the concept to something where the person does have a thorough understanding.
  • Let Your Co-worker Take the Lead: Let them guide the discussion so they can ask questions at their level.
  • Opt for Curious, Not Condescending: Avoid tech jargon or explaining in too much depth to avoid making people feel inept.
  • Add a Dose of Empathy: Understand a person’s situation and pay attention to how they’re reacting, then form your explanation.

How do you deal with non-technical people when they’re an integral part of your IT project team? Share your tips for other contractors in the comments below.

Be an Office Hero with These Time Management Tips

Every memorable Thanksgiving dinner has at least one hero. The person who managed to lead the way in bringing everyone together, whipping up a delicious feast, cleaning the house, and sending everyone home with full bellies and a smile. It may seem like some sort of magic is required to pull all of that off, but reality is, among other skills, time management is probably one of your Thanksgiving Hero’s biggest strengths.

You may never be your family’s Thanksgiving Hero, but the right time management skills can help you become the project hero for your client. People will think you used witchcraft to get the entire team to deliver their work on time, all while going above and beyond to ensure no detail is spared. To get started, have a look at this infographic from Everwise.

Infographic: 8 Secrets for Mastering Time Management

10 Logic Riddles to Get You Through Thanksgiving

Canadians love Thanksgiving weekend! A long weekend, fall weather, delicious food… and awkward silences at family gatherings. If you need to start a conversation while sitting in a quiet living room staring at cousins you barely know or you need to quickly change the subject after your uncle makes an offensive comment, then this video from Bright Side is here to help!

Challenge yourself and then your family with some of these logic riddles that they claim will increase your IQ. You may choose to run through all of them this weekend but keep in mind, more family gatherings and awkward silences are just around the corner in December.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving weekend!

Giving Feedback within Your IT Project Team

Giving Feedback within Your IT Project TeamGiving feedback to your peers, or even direct reports, can be a tricky road to navigate for anyone. It can be awkward and uncomfortable, and there may be a fear that you’ll offend someone, destroy team dynamics, and seriously harm your project. When successful, feedback can build trust in your team, build solid relationships and, ultimately, create a better project outcome. How can IT professionals give feedback that provides the latter? Here are a few basic tips for giving feedback:

Remember the Two Types of Feedback

Strike a balance between both reinforcement (positive) feedback and corrective (negative) feedback. Positive feedback points out a job well done and encourages a person to continue the same behavior, where negative feedback highlights a need for improvement. Unfortunately, too often we only give negative feedback, eliminating the massive motivational benefits that come from the recognition in positive feedback.

Keep Feedback SMART

The acronym can be used when setting goals, answering job interview questions and, yes, when giving constructive feedback. Rather than a simple “you could do this better”, provide a person with Specific details of the situation and how they can improve. Make it easy for them to Measure their progress and Achieve success in a Realistic manner. Finally, make feedback Time-bound, so a person has a specific deadline to work towards.

Be Careful How You Give the Feedback

Even if you’re providing SMART feedback, the specific words you choose and tone you use will affect how it is perceived. Ensure your language is not judgmental and your voice is not condescending. How you communicate is especially important when you’re working in a team where there are language and cultural barriers. Although you may think your message is coming across politely and clearly the recipient may not fully comprehend your tone.

Is the Feedback Really Necessary?

Before providing your input, make sure it is necessary, it will be helpful, and it’s your place to give it. If you don’t know the complete circumstances of the situation, if the person has no control over the situation, if you’re angry, or if it’s simply none of your business, then don’t saying anything at all. It’s also wise to “pick your battles.” Too much feedback can be overwhelming, frustrating and counter-productive. Therefore, ask yourself if it’s really that important.

Plan Your Feedback

Feedback should be given sooner rather than later (it’s common for peers to provide feedback when a project is over, which does not help improve the project), but also avoid jumping on it immediately. Plan carefully to understand the person’s situation, what you’ll say and where you’ll say it. For example, a public setting is great for positive feedback, but not appropriate for negative feedback.

Feedback is a two-way street. You have to be great at providing it, but the other person has to be willing to accept it. When some people hear feedback, they immediately think “you need to change” or “you’re terrible at what you do.” This is beyond your control, but ensuring you’re as good at accepting feedback as giving it will help others accept it too.

How does feedback get given and received on your teams? Do you have any secrets for giving it? If so, please share them with our readers in the comments below.

IT Challenges and Priorities of North American Companies

IT Challenges and Priorities of North American CompaniesHow up-to-date are you on the struggles and strategies of your industry? Understanding what companies are facing can help you plan which skills you will enhance over coming months, as well as help you develop a better sales pitch for your contracting business. There are plenty of sources and studies available to help you understand potential clients’ agendas, and new research is being published regularly. Here are a couple recent ones…

A CDW Canada survey of Canadian organizations learned that their top security concerns are intrusion prevention (39%) and Ransomware protection (35%). Even with these concerns, most are still exploring or implementing cloud deployments; in fact, half of them are planning hybrid solutions in 2017. While most organizations are adopting cloud strategies in one way or another, only 16% would consider themselves a “cloud-first” organization.

The survey revealed some additional IT-related priorities for Canadian organizations. For example, when asked about emerging technologies that will have the most impact on their business, the top responses were analytics and big data, as well as the Internet of Things (IoT). In addition, 10% plan to replace legacy tools and applications with new technologies and 31% plan to upgrade or update their current tools and applications in their unified communications strategies.

South of the border, mid-market US-based companies are having a challenging time attracting and retaining IT talent — that’s according to a recent CFO Research survey. The findings detail how 49% of finance executives state that their challenges to keep tech professionals in the company have an adverse effect on them. Once they do secure IT employees, the struggles with those people continue with technical competency, strategic planning and vision, industry knowledge, project management, and customer service skills.

Naturally, the US companies surveyed are dealing with their issue by turning to external services. Rather than training or continuing their search, CFO Research learned that most are bridging the gap by moving to cloud services and eliminating a need to source, manage and maintain computer hardware, as well as turning to managed IT services. Regardless of their concerns about costs, the provider’s ability to understand the company, service quality or security breaches, the overall feeling among the executives surveyed is that this solution has been successful.

Have you come across any recent studies about your industry that help you prioritize your training? If so, please share the links below so other readers can benefit.

Which Browser is Most Secure?

Anybody who’s worked around technology knows to never let your guard down when it comes to IT security. Just when you think you’re safe, within a simple click, your computer or entire network could be hacked, putting everything on pause until things are back to normal.

Nobody wants to deal with this stress so we do everything we can be minimize vulnerabilities. An item we rarely think twice about is which browser we’re using. After all, if I’m using the most popular one, should it not also be the most secure? According to this infographic from WhoIsHostingThis, that would be a false assumption.

Keep scrolling to learn which internet browsers have the most vulnerabilities, how to take matters into your own hands and secure yourself in those browsers, and learn about less popular browsers that were build specifically for privacy.

Which Browser is Most Secure? - Via Who Is Hosting This: The Blog
Source: WhoIsHostingThis.com

4 Better Ways to Use Your Spare Time

Are you lounging around with nothing to do? Are you looking for some fun and entertaining things to do? Practical Psychology wants you to turn away from spending numerous hours in front of the TV or gaming with your free time, and instead, look into adding some net worth to your name!

This video tells us about the 4 best things we can do with our free time to start constantly improving our lifestyle. It can be as simple as exercising regularly, or meditating for 10 minutes a day. These 4 interesting habits and activities will be sure to keep you busy. Take action now, and cure your boredom!