Avoiding Burnout in a Tech Role

Avoiding Burnout in a Tech Role

On the list of occupational hazards for IT professionals, burnout often occupies the top rung. Working long and/or odd hours is something of a badge of honor in tech, and the repetitive nature of many roles can come to make you resent what you once loved. Here are some thoughts on avoiding – or dealing with – burnout in a tech job.

See burnout coming. Have simple tasks become harder? Do you find yourself short-tempered with clients or co-workers? Outside of work, have your sleeping or eating habits changed for the worse? These are all potential signs of burnout, and as with most things, the sooner you recognize the problem, the better.

Take a step back. A look at the bigger picture can help to change your perspective. Are you in the first year of a new job, or deep into a major project that has a finish line? Know that there’s a next step and remember your ‘why.’ There are reasons you chose this field. Your current situation will change, but those reasons will still be there. Step out of the weeds and consider your longer view.

Take care of yourself. As noted, long hours are a constant state of affairs in the tech world. But if you’re subsisting on work alone, and thinking about it even when you’re not working, you’re a prime candidate for burnout. Take time to eat right, exercise and do things you know are good for your physical and mental well-being.

Treat yourself. Every day. Find a way to reward yourself for another good day’s work. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but you need to consciously block out time to make sure it happens. This can be as simple as enjoying a favorite meal or making time to read.

Keep learning. Repetitive drudgery is a key factor in burnout, and if you feel like you’re jumping on the same hamster wheel every single day, it’s very difficult to stay motivated. Continue to sharpen your professional axe … work on that next certification or teach yourself a new skill. Focusing on a new challenge will alleviate that same-old, same-old feeling.

Stay connected. Tech roles have always been largely individual pursuits. Add to that the enforced isolation of the pandemic and you have a recipe for burnout. We all need our tribes, whether family, friends, co-workers or all of the above. Make yourself available to your loved ones, and make the effort to stay connected with the people you can’t see in person. A Zoom meeting is better than no meeting at all.

Ready to learn more about apprenticeships as a challenging, new career path? Learn more about Franklin Apprenticeships.

 

The Path to a Successful Tech Apprenticeship Program

The Path to a Successful Tech Apprenticeship Program

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Employers about to take the leap into apprenticeship programs frequently ask us what actions they can take that will lead to the most successful outcomes. Here’s our advice for launching a program that maximizes the benefits to both your organization and its apprentices.

Think long term. As a hiring manager, you often need to plug a hole in your lineup, and quickly. We urge you to adjust that mindset and think of ten-year career paths, not just filling jobs. If you can show a new hire a career path from Day One and not just a job, you’ll stop paying top dollar for experience and fancy resumes and start investing in potential. That 12- to 18-month investment results in loyal team members who typically will stick around for years to come … so you can stop plugging holes.

Prepare to polish. Investing in potential means that you’ll need the ability to see diamonds in the rough. Your new hire will have some ground to cover before they can compete head-on with those high-dollar resumes you’re seeing. But they’ll cover that ground under your watchful eye (and ours), so in the end you’ll have a team member who’s fully versed in doing things your way instead of bringing along bad habits from a previous job. And they’re typically up to speed and adding value in 90-120 days.

Fill in the background. The more we know about your company culture and the way you conduct business, the better we can match candidates to your openings. Take the time up front to consider the qualities in a candidate that will fit in well at your organization, and the ones that won’t. Replicate the personality traits of the past winners, and don’t get too caught up in look-alike resumes.

Look in-house. Nothing contributes to a great company culture, and a loyal team, more than the knowledge that there’s an internal path to career advancement. Assess your current staff and consider who’s ready for a more senior role, then upskill them in an apprenticeship program. You can backfill the chair they leave empty with a new more junior apprentice, usually an easier person to find.

Communicate. You found the perfect apprentice? Be prepared to encourage them along the way, celebrating each milestone as they pass their certifications and enjoy the corresponding pay raise. An open line of communication with their assigned mentor / Success Coach is also vital. They have the ear of your new hire and can get right to work on polishing any rough edges. This communication loop keeps small issues from becoming bigger ones and will make both you and the apprentice happier in the long run.

Ready to learn more about an apprenticeship program for your organization? Contact Franklin Apprenticeships.

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Go to College or Go Professional?

Go to College or Go Professional?

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It’s not just a question for athletes. With college debt spiraling out of control and the pandemic severely impacting the traditional “college experience,” many students are reconsidering their options. In fact, a recent Forbes article reports that 40% of entering freshmen say they’re likely or very likely not to attend on campus in the fall. Add to that the 28% of returning students making similar decisions and it’s clear that the typical college campus will look very different this year.

The student debt portion of this equation is not new, of course. At $1.6 trillion, college debt now trails only mortgage debt in consumer categories, also according to Forbes. More and more students are looking for alternatives to saddling themselves with loan debt, especially as 2020 has flipped the employment market upside down.

So, does it make more sense to go to college or go pro?

In other words, are there fields where there’s still demand for employees, and where a four-year degree isn’t a prerequisite?

The answer is an emphatic “yes.” There’s still a big demand for talent in the IT industry, and for many positions there’s no requirement for a degree. For example, help desk personnel and network engineers are needed, and those are two major areas of focus at Franklin Apprenticeships.

An apprenticeship is not an internship. You’ll be a paid employee from Day One while learning the skills employers require and earning an income vs. paying for your education! In a typical program, the first year will see you complete three certifications with a corresponding pay raise for each one.

As an apprentice, you’ll have guidance and one-to-one mentorship you’re not likely to get in college or in a standard job. You’ll meet weekly with a Personal Success Coach to review your progress, not only on the technical requirements of the job but on the “soft” people skills that are so valuable to employers and so important to your future.

Best of all, there’s no cost to you, the apprentice. No loans, no debt.

Go to college or go professional? The decision might be easier than you think.

Ready to learn more? Contact Franklin Apprenticeships.

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Hiring IT Talent: Credentials or Passion?

Hiring IT Talent: Credentials or Passion?

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In today’s tight labor market, hiring IT talent can seem like a series of tradeoffs. If you want new employees with impressive credentials, be prepared to pay top dollar, and be ready to go through the whole cycle again in 12 months when your new hire gets a better offer. Would you prefer a junior team player with a great attitude that you can mold into a winner? If so, you may need to lower the bar a bit on technical skills.

If anything, your dilemma is worse in 2020 as the pandemic and work-from-home environment have squeezed the talent pipeline even more.

Consider an apprenticeship program.

Apprenticeships uncover hidden talent in the market, candidates with customer service skills, passion and an aptitude for IT. Candidates are eager to work and seeking an alternative to the pricey four-year degree. And unlike traditional hires, they come fully equipped with a road map to success and the personalized mentoring to get there.

Franklin’s apprentices earn three Microsoft/CompTIA certifications in their first year, each accompanied by an incremental pay increase on a discounted starting wage. Their progress is carefully tracked by a mentor, so no one falls behind, and you wind up with fully qualified Help Desk or Network Engineer talent. Best of all, our apprentices are incredibly loyal to their employers, with a 95% long-term retention rate.

Plus, if your existing team members need upskilling, they can be moved into the program as well. The perfect solution for your trusted, loyal employees to jump start their own career paths.

You don’t have to choose between skills and passion. Contact us today to learn more.

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The 3 Problems with a Remote IT Workforce and How Apprenticeships Solve Them

The 3 Problems with a Remote IT Workforce and How Apprenticeships Solve Them

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When 2020 began, you knew you’d have challenges keeping your IT talent pipeline filled, but no one could have imagined the new realities brought on by the pandemic. Suddenly, all those struggles have become even greater, and hiring, training and managing in a remote work environment might seem impossible. Here’s why an IT apprenticeship program might be an even better solution for your organization than before.

The good ones are taken. Anyone hiring IT talent knows this: great talent is hard to find, and when you do, there’s often little loyalty to your organization. The result can be a never-ending game of musical chairs in which your IT clients are the losers.

However, the pandemic has compelled many to reconsider both their career path and the traditional four-year college track, and the result is a hidden pipeline full of smart, skilled applicants for apprenticeships. These men and women are your next Help Desk Level 1 staff, or your next Network Engineers, and they’re loyal to the companies who support them on their journey. How loyal? Organizations employing our apprentices have seen a 95% retention rate lasting for years.

No time to train. Community colleges are closed. Your existing team members are busy getting their work done and quite possibly trying to home-school their kids as well. There’s just no time to acquire additional skills and certifications.

An apprenticeship program is not only for adding new talent, but can upskill your existing team as well. Training time to acquire new certifications is baked into the plan, during work hours, so they don’t need to spend their nights and weekends trying to move ahead.

Remote management is difficult. Managing an IT team is a challenge under the best of circumstances. In a remote environment it approaches impossible. You would spend more time working one-on-one with each team member if you could, but it’s just not feasible.

Every apprentice has a personal success coach who conducts a detailed check-in every week to review progress and challenges. Coaches work to keep candidates on track not only with technical skills and certifications, but with their soft skills and client interaction abilities. In other words, the skills that help you sleep at night knowing your customers are in good hands.

Ready to learn more about IT apprenticeship programs? Contact Franklin Apprenticeships.

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You Just Graduated – Now What Can You Do?

You Just Graduated – Now What Can You Do?

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You spent the last 12, 16, or more years in school. You have invested a lot of hard work. You have an interest in the technology field.  Whether you have applied to colleges, or have just completed your college career — you have some important questions about what you can do to get a good job, today.

As an individual looking to start a fresh career, you have some big decisions to make — and several uncertainties to consider.

If you are a high school graduate, you might question whether the college choice will yield the same results as you once thought.

  • Do I go to college as planned?
  • What if colleges don’t re-open in the fall?
  • What if they open, but all classes are online?
  • What will my return on investment be for all of that college tuition?
  • Should I stay closer to home for now?
  • Are there any other, more immediate career options?

As a college graduate, you might question whether or not your degree will carry the same weight as you once thought.

  • How do I start my career in a job market that has dramatically shifted?
  • Should I consider temp work?
  • What will my return on investment be for all that college tuition?
  • Will my major be applicable in today’s business climate?
  • How will I replay my college loans and afford my household expenses when I can’t find a job?
  • Are there any alternative, immediate career options?

Consider this: An IT apprenticeship is a good way to spend a gap year or post graduate year. And it offers an immediate return for today, and beyond.

What can you have if you decide to pursue an IT apprenticeship?

We have answers to all of these questions for today’s high school and college grads.

  1. You can have a full-time, W-2 paid apprenticeship position in the lucrative IT industry as a help desk technician with a company that is close to home. This is NOT an internship.
  2. You can see if an IT career is the right fit for you with a one-year apprenticeship program before you consider investing the $100K+ expense on a four-year degree. Or, you can begin working to pay off your current loans while determining if an IT career is right for you.
  3. You can embark on an apprenticeship that leads to a long-term career path 94 percent of the time (as opposed to most college grads who jump jobs multiple times before they are 26).
  4. You can receive three Industry recognized certifications (Microsoft or CompTIA) in the one year program with documented IT skills that make you more valuable — all at no personal expense.
  5. You can have a personal Success Coach work with you every week to ensure you are on the right track — and that includes developing your professional skills as a complement to your technical skills.
  6. You can earn up to three pay raises in the first year on the job.
  7. You can work a typical 40-hour week and attend online training during working hours with no night classes.

You could spend the next few years going to college. You could spend the next year waiting to figure out how to market your degree. Or,  you can take another track and jump right into a lucrative IT career as a Digital IT Apprentice.  Apprenticeship is a great way to crack a hidden, in-demand job market and jump-start a full-time career.

Now might be the right time to earn while you learn in an apprenticeship.  Determine if an IT career is your best destination.

How can you learn more about what you can do with an apprenticeship? Contact us.  

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Proven steps to successfully train new hires, remotely

Proven steps to successfully train new hires, remotely

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With businesses all across the world employing a remote workplace strategy, the way we work, hire and train has gone through a sudden paradigm shift. Your team may be comfortable interviewing people by using teleconferencing technologies — a combination of an initial phone screen, a video interview, an online assessment, and a role play or mock presentation phone call may be enough. But, does your organization struggle with new hire training and onboarding once the offer is signed? As experts in remote hiring and training, here are a few strategies we employ at Franklin Apprenticeships that make our program successful.

  1. Assign a mentor. Much like our Success Coaches who are assigned to an apprentice to help monitor a remote hire’s ability to learn and apply skills, match your new employee to a mentor or coach who meets regularly for 20-30 minutes a week to act as a sounding board and monitor progress. These sessions not only train on soft skills and professional development, but also allow you to check in to see how your new hire is doing and what else they may need in terms of support. Quick phone and video calls work well to check in on a regular basis alongside texts in real time, as needed.
  2. Utilize online classroom training. For hard skills and technical training, utilize remote classroom training with live instructors and classmates in the same session. Record the sessions and use videos as a backup. A peer group of classmates not only push each other to succeed, but also bring them together as a unit and create an additional support system outside of the classroom.
  3. Train during work hours. Set aside a consistent time and day of the week for classroom training during work hours. Training employees during their scheduled hours enables them to focus on work-related learning without the disruptions that may accompany their life after hours.
  4. Shadow. Check in on employees in real-time by using a screen sharing system to see how an employee is doing in the specific role for which they were hired. Whether you listen in on live calls or join a teleconference, your employee can benefit from your input on their performance while they get hands-on experience.
  5. Role play calls. Use 20-30 minute sessions to help your new hire learn by role playing a few real life work scenarios. Have them gain valuable experience by playing both roles on a call — as your company representative and the client. This will help them learn what a client might need, as well as how to deliver to that client.
  6. Track it. At Franklin Apprenticeships our Skills Tracker allows employers and Success Coaches to monitor and track an Apprentice’s progress. Setting up a similar system to track progress starts with establishing goals and using metrics as the employee hits key milestones. A tracking system can be as easy as a weekly “Friday quiz” to see if the new learning is actually sticking.

The demands of working remotely can be strenuous on both you and your newly hired staff. Don’t let the training of your recent hires suffer as a result. By employing these proven strategies, you can help ensure that your new employee gets the training they need, and your remote onboarding goes smoothly. Together, we can make remote hiring and training a success!

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Webinar: A Workforce Strategy for 2020 and Beyond

Webinar: A Workforce Strategy for 2020 and Beyond

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The Learner’s Journey with Franklin Apprenticeships

This is a distribution of a previously recorded webinar. Please note: We experienced a pandemic server bandwidth break up in the 11:11 to 12:02 track. Hang in there with us, as the session picks right back up in short order!

Franklin Apprenticeships has been on the front lines helping employers apply apprenticeship as a recruitment, training, and retention strategy.

Are you curious to better understand the role apprenticeships play in helping businesses solve their skilled labor shortages? Listen in as we discuss the Learner’s Journey that occurs while executing a Franklin Apprenticeships program, and the benefits for both learners and employers.

You will discover:

  • The various stages of an apprentice Learner’s Journey from the business perspective
  • The importance of the on-boarding process and what to expect during the 12 months
  • How to determine the appropriate performance level to expect from each apprentice, including upskilling current employees
  • The proprietary, structured components of the program that Franklin Apprenticeships apply to lighten the load from employers and ensure program success
  • What happens after an apprentice has completed his or her apprenticeship

Join us as we outline how Franklin Apprenticeships is working with employers, today, to tackle a workforce strategy for 2020 and beyond. Together, we are #Changing the American Workforce in Challenging Times

 

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Franklin Apprenticeships Learner Journey Webinar:

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Apprenticeships: The Learning Supermind Approach for Upskilling Employees Are You One of the Many That Do This Wrong?

Apprenticeships: The Learning Supermind Approach for Upskilling Employees Are You One of the Many That Do This Wrong?

 

Calling all Companies Supporting the Work-From-Home Resurgence

Calling all Companies Supporting the Work-From-Home Resurgence

What is your hiring strategy?

Carolina Milanes, principal analyst at Creative Strategies and founder of the Heart of Tech wrote a great commentary this week for Fast Company in response to the resurgence in remote work. Working from Home is great for diversity. Let’s keep it going sheds light on the work from home environment.  According to Milanes, “Remote work can open the door to talent pools that are more diverse in three key areas: gender, accessibility, and race.”

We would like to take that sage advice a step further by adding the concept of apprenticeship into the mix. Apprenticeships are slowly re-emerging to fill the gap of university education, especially in IT—including top remote positions such as Help Desk and Network Engineer.  These programs open opportunities for individuals to learn new skills, build amazing careers, and do work they truly care about. They also tap into a talent pool of diverse talent often discounted by traditional HR. Highly structured programs are supported with online learning, dedicated Success Coaches, and cloud-based e-portfolio systems built specifically to accelerate and monitor a remote learner’s ability to apply skills.  

The coronavirus has sent workers home, many of which will have no jobs to go back to.  What a great time to take advantage of an untapped talent pool ready and anxious to bring their skills to new heights.  

What is your hiring strategy?  Learn how apprenticeship can help leading companies create a compelling, diverse remote workforce strategy for 2020 and beyond. 

Contact Franklin Apprenticeships today and learn about our Digital IT Help Desk, Network Engineer, and AutoMOtive! Apprenticeship programs!