How to work your way up a company

Get noticed at work so management sends opportunities your way

How to work your way up a company

How to work your way up a company

Susan Heathfield is an HR and management consultant with an MS degree. She has decades of experience writing about human resources.

Are you used to flying below the radar at work? Think not being noticed will keep your job safe? Not anymore. The best strategy now is to figure out how you can raise your visibility at work—in positive ways. You want to get noticed at work.

Additionally, if your job is tedious or repetitive, you can request alternative activities to break up the monotony of your everyday work. No matter the job, it is difficult to do the same work all day long, even if you love the work and the customers. Your request for skill developing assignments will make you stand out.

If you’re underemployed and waiting for your next opportunity at work, request work that will help you grow into your next assignment. If you’re thinking about looking for a new job, make your requests for more challenging work visible.

Don’t sit back and wait for your manager to give you something new or exciting to do. It is always the wrong approach.

Your manager is busy, too, and while your development as a person and employee may be important to your manager, they cannot read your mind. It is helpful to work in a company with a performance development planning process in place.

There, you have the opportunity to talk with your supervisor, at least quarterly, about issues such as your development and career growth. But, no matter your company’s employment practices, you have the right to ask and to care about your career and personal development and visibility at work.

6 Tips to Raise Your Visibility at Work

These ideas will help you help your boss help you:

  1. Ask for more responsible assignments, so you can exhibit that you deserve them and that your skills are underutilized. Go to your manager with specific suggestions about how you think you can contribute to process and system improvement, departmental efficiency, or creating a new process or method. Make it easy for them to help you.
  2. Volunteer to represent your department at meetings, on planning committees, and on projects. A proactive approach to work is noticed by the bosses. Working on cross-functional teams also gives your talent exposure outside of your own work area. It is helpful when promotions or lateral opportunities become available. A known employee has the advantage over one who is not known.
  3. Build your relationship with your boss. Check in with them periodically whether you need to or not. Your boss is a person, too. Don’t make fake requests or pretend ignorance if you have the answer. But, running the answer by the boss, telling the boss what’s on your mind, and making suggestions for improvement are generally welcome interactions. You don’t have to share your private life or be friends with your boss and coworkers, but a friendly, supportive relationship matters for success and visibility.
  4. If you have skills that you are not using in your current position, look for opportunities to keep in practice. Use them; don’t lose them. These opportunities will also bring wider company exposure and broaden your organization’s thinking about what you can do. So, as an example, your creative talents, your willingness to experiment, or your ability to mediate conflicts will make you stand out as an employee.
  5. Request the opportunity to participate in seminars and training classes. Ask to belong to your relevant professional development association and for the opportunity to participate in its events. Then, visibly apply the new opportunities back in the workplace. Take the application one step further. Tell your boss and coworkers what you learned and how you plan to apply the new information at work. It has three advantages. Your improvement efforts improve your visibility and teaching others is the best way to make sure you’ve learned the concepts. Finally, your coworkers benefit from the time you spent and the knowledge you gained at the session.
  6. If your company has book clubs or interactive brown bag lunches on topics, get involved or start them in your organization. Make sure your boss has factored the time into your schedule so that you can become involved. Just like the activities mentioned earlier, this participation brings all of the benefits of broader visibility, and you can be observed by others from across your organization in a thoughtful discussion.

These tips about employee training and development will give you more thoughts on how you can pursue your personal, professional development at work. It’s well worth the time that you invest in it.

How to work your way up a company

So there you are, coasting along at your current job. You enjoy your work, and you especially like your company.

The thing is, you’re feeling a little restless lately. Perhaps you know your job so well that you could do it in your sleep. Or maybe you don’t see much opportunity for growth or movement in your department. That little voice in your head is saying it’s ready for new challenges, but the thought of leaving your awesome company is really daunting. There’s got to be a better way, right?

Before you start polishing up your resume, it’s worth thinking about how you can create your own opportunity at your current company. But how do you do this? Where do you start? How do you even get the right people to listen to you? Read on for five easy steps for creating a new job at your current company.

1. Define a Current Business Problem and Match Your Skills to It

For your boss and company to consider shifting your role, they’ll want to know what’s in it for them. So, look around. What are some of the biggest challenges and problems that need to be solved at your company? Perhaps your department lacks a comprehensive training program, or maybe no one has developed a much-needed social media strategy. Maybe the marketing department is down a person who has never been replaced. Try matching up these opportunities to your own expertise, and think about what you can offer.

2. Create a Detailed Plan

Now that you’ve identified a new role or opportunity you could fill, you’ll want to create a plan. First, create a thorough job description, along with a set of goals for this position within the first year. (To speak your boss’ language, create it using the same format that your company uses already.) Spelling out exactly how this role will look will give management a better idea of what you can accomplish.

Then, put some thought into what will happen to your current role—will you keep some of your tasks and transition some of them to others, or will your boss need to hire a replacement? Remember, if that’s the case, you’ll need to make an especially compelling argument as to why your new role is needed or how it can impact the business. On that note:

3. Pitch the Idea to Your Supervisor

By this point, you might be so excited about your idea that you want to run straight to your boss’ boss (or higher). However, the best place to start is usually your immediate supervisor. He or she will hopefully be a great initial sounding board. Start by scheduling a meeting during a quiet time when your supervisor will be less distracted. Next, present a simple outline of your idea, starting with the business problem you will solve. Be sure to mention your strong interest in developing your skills and owning your career. After all, you’ve already mastered your current job, and you’re ready for new challenges now. It also wouldn’t hurt to mention how much you enjoy working for your current company and how you’d like to stay there long-term.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask your supervisor to punch holes in this idea; you’ll want to be prepared to answer challenging questions if your idea gets to the next level. If your supervisor agrees that your idea could work, then ask about the next step—i.e., the right people to talk to in order to make the job a reality.

On the other hand, if your manager shows resistance, ask him or her to think about it some more and then get back to you with specific feedback. Maybe your idea could still work with a little tweaking. Or perhaps your supervisor is afraid of backfilling your role, and you need to work on a better transition plan. If the idea is flat-out rejected, don’t be afraid to talk to a mentor or trusted colleague who has a fresh perspective—he or she may have a different idea for approaching matters (or other thoughts on how you could shift your role).

4. Revise Your Idea and Present it to the Decision Makers

Once your boss has green-lighted the idea and pointed you to the right folks to talk to next, take another look at your plan. You’ll want to tailor your approach based on the people you are meeting with. If you’re meeting with a high-level director, you might want to pare down the details and focus on results. If you’re meeting with human resources, you’ll want to include some specific experiences that showcase your untapped talent.

No matter what, again you’ll want to focus on how this new role will be a great thing for the company—and why you’re exactly the right person to take it on.

5. Be Patient

Even if everyone from the custodial staff to the CEO thinks your idea is wonderful, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be starting your new job within two weeks. Some ideas need to be vetted with the right people before they can take flight, whereas others may simply need the right funding to become a reality. And unfortunately, some ideas may depend on the right timing. Your organization may need to wrap up current strategic projects before the right resources can be redirected to your idea.

But remember: If your idea is worth doing and you’d really enjoy it, try to hang in there until the timing is right—it just might pay off in the end. In the meantime, use that waiting period to brush up on those skills you’ll use in your new job. You never know when you’ll be tapped to make that jump.

Have you ever created your own opportunity at your current company? What did you do? Share your experiences with us at The Muse!

This story is available exclusively to Insider subscribers. Become an Insider and start reading now.

  • Ryan Clark was laid off from his sales-engineer job in 2017 and started freelancing on Upwork.
  • He started a business, Mr. SharePoint, to help firms with digital-process and workflow automation.
  • Clark earned more than $1 million in payments in the past five years on Upwork.

One of the first things clients ask Ryan Clark on a call is, “Where in the world are you today?”

Some days, the answer is Aruba or Brazil; others, it’s Italy or Hawaii.

“I could be working from the beach, or I could be just landing off of a helicopter from touring a volcano in Hawaii,” Clark told Insider.

While he’s based in Chicago, the 33-year-old entrepreneur has the freedom to travel, set his own hours, and work from anywhere in the world. Clark is the founder of Mr. SharePoint, a business that automates manual processes and workflows. He gets his clients through Upwork, a platform that connects freelancers with companies that need to outsource tasks.

But Clark didn’t always have the lifestyle many only dream of: He worked as a sales engineer before he was laid off in 2017. After that, he sought a job where he would have more control and flexibility.

“I didn’t like the fact that another company had so much control over the trajectory of my work life,” he said.

In five years, Clark has earned more than $1 million in payments on Upwork, which Insider verified with documentation. He told Insider how he established his rates, expanded his clientele, and managed his time.

Start out small to gain customers

Clark got his first client from networking in person, then discovered Upwork as a way to reach people more efficiently.

He didn’t have a reputation on the platform, so he set his rate low at $45 an hour when he started out, he said.

“On Upwork, you’re competing with people from all across the world,” he said. “One of the ways you can get a client to hire you is just to lower your rate.”

It took him about two weeks to get his first Upwork client. Then, as he gained more clients and reviews, he gradually increased his prices. Initially, Clark thought he might lose business because of this, but he said he not only kept his clients but also found they took him more seriously. Now, his rate is $135 an hour.

Know your selling points

An Upwork profile is similar to a résumé in that it introduces prospective clients to your expertise and previous work.

“When people first view your profile, that’s a natural, inexpensive way to gain new business,” Clark said.

He established clear selling points to set himself apart. For example, he majored in business accounting and minored in technology and management in college. He said being “both functional and technical” appealed to clients because he could work with people on both the business side and the developmental side of projects.

“In my world, typically, you find people that are one or the other,” he said.

Sixty percent of his clients are repeat customers, and he’s done work for companies in the fashion, pharmaceutical, grocery, and cannabis industries.

Establish a strategy

Anyone interested in freelancing on Upwork needs a strategy, Clark said: “If you don’t know how to execute something, you’re not going to be very successful in entrepreneurship.”

When he bids on a project, one of his approaches is to quote a price slightly lower than his regular rate to stay competitive with all the other freelancers bidding on the same project. Bidding was a necessary step in establishing his business, but he rarely does it today since most of his clients come directly to him.

No two days are the same, but Clark typically responds to emails and inquiries in the mornings before diving into the projects he has for the day. His job often requires moments in between to troubleshoot and help clients fix any problems that come up. To make the most of his time, he requires retainer fees for some jobs.

“It doesn’t make sense for me to go back and get a corporate job if I can earn more with just a baseline of my retainers,” he said. “Anything I do on top of that is just extra.”

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  • How to Improve a Relationship With a Co-Worker
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Your immediate reaction to a situation isn’t always the most professional one. While it’s common to allow emotions to override intellect initially, you shouldn’t let your actions be ruled solely by your anger, disgust or disappointment. Instead, temper your feelings, sort out the situation and approach your colleagues with respect and dignity. There are many ways to express disatisfaction that can constructively resolve issues in the workplace and preserve positive relationships with colleagues.

Gain Perspective

Before you confront a co-worker or your boss about your feelings, gain some perspective. Take the time to write down your thoughts and feelings about the situation. Including thoughts that are negative – even those you would never vocalize – can help you release any pent-up anger and frustration and allow you to realize if your feelings are valid or a product of a misinterpretation, assumption or insecurity.

Be willing to admit your faults. Read what you wrote, reflect and tear up the paper and throw it away once you’ve finished. You also can vent to a family member, friend or a trusted co-worker whom you know won’t betray your confidence. Before you go forward, determine your goal. Do you want an apology, or are you seeking recognition for something? Consider the likelihood of your desired outcome.

Approach the Person

Go to the person with whom you want to speak and ask him if you can talk to him privately. This shows your respect for the situation and allows for a confidential setting where both of you can express your feelings openly without concerning yourself with the opinions of other people. It’s never appropriate or professional to discuss private business in front of others.

Look for an opening in the conversation to bring up a concern that has been on your mind, such as disappointment over being excluded. Examples of how to express disappointment professionally might include sharing a time that you felt your questions were ignored at a team meeting, or a time that you were not invited when your team went to lunch.

Use “I” Statements

Describe the behavior or circumstances, explain how it affected you or others and tell the person your goal. If you can, offer positive feedback to the other person to keep her from being defensive. Psychologist Larry Nadig recommends beginning statements with “I,” which sounds less threatening than starting with “you.”

For example, say, “I worked hard to come up with my ideas, and I don’t appreciate you passing them off as your own. I would like for you to admit to our boss that the ideas weren’t yours. We’ve always had a positive working relationship, and I don’t want to let this situation ruin it.”

Keep the focus on the issue you are discussing. Don’t bring up other grievances, or you risk clouding the issue and delaying a resolution.

Stay Calm and in Control

The American Management Association cautions that emotionally charged discussions can interfere with constructive resolution of problems. Professionals keep their emotions in check when discussing sensitive matters in the workplace.

Speak in a calm, even tone. If the other person becomes defensive, offer to continue the discussion at another time. Sometimes a person needs time to absorb information before she can react in an appropriate manner. If the person refuses to agree to your terms, decide if you want to take matters into your own hands or let the issue go.

Image Credit: Snapwire on Pexels

Is your work computer locked down to the point of keeping you from doing your work? As a business owner, this is something you can scarcely afford.

Do you have deadlines looming, clients waiting, but no way to work around the issue and gain access to your work in progress?

It’s possible, then, that you lack system administrator privileges. However, system administrator privileges often do more harm than good. They’re useful for stopping inexperienced users from overloading the system with viruses and useless programs. However, they can also keep more experienced users from being productive.

If you need access right now, with no delay, here are a few techniques that can get you to the right place quickly.

The Control Panel Vectors Might Be Open

One of the problems with system administrator blocks is that they don’t block everything. Therefore, unless the system administrator is thorough, there are always alternate routes to your destination, even on your work computer.

This is where the term “backdoor” comes from. Instead of using the “front door” or main way of accessing something, you can check another option. Sometimes it’s a flaw within the software. Or sometimes your backdoor could be a legitimate way of using the software that wasn’t included in the blocking option.

A good example is accessing different parts of the Control Panel on Windows-based systems. The Control Panel is often the first set of tools that gets blocked, however. That’s because it holds a powerful set of tools to remove those blocks or bypass security.

In fact, the Control Panel is one of the main ways to restrict a work computer.

Try a Different Vector

What if you need to change your desktop resolution to something that isn’t stretched out and cut off? Some monitors have non-standard resolutions that Windows might not detect for an automatic change. However, you can force a resolution change on your work computer by trying different vectors or paths to access the display settings.

The first and easiest option is the Right Click > Screen Resolution or Display settings option on Windows 7 and newer. It’s pretty weird that locking Control Panel access allows display access with a right click. However, perhaps this was intentional. On the other hand, allowing workers to personalize their system is helpful, but it’s often accidental.

If it’s accidental, there’s a chance you have other exposed vectors on your work computer to take advantage of as well.

See If You Can Open Task Manager on Your Work Computer

The Task Manager is another powerful area. If you can open the task manager on your work computer, you can open and close many applications as long as deeper restrictions aren’t on the system.

For example, what if your system is blocked or monitored by third-party software? If your business doesn’t have IT staff and instead uses third-party programs, you could end that program’s task and use the computer in an unrestricted fashion.

Use Task Manager to Open Programs

A more likely technique would be to use Task Manager to open programs. If you know the name and location of certain applications, you can open them through Task Manager if they’re not visible on your desktop or start menu.

This is helpful when you can’t access hidden files. Pressing Ctrl+R on Windows systems also gives you access to the Run prompt for the same level of control. However, Run prompts are often the first things to be disabled.

Need to Visit Blocked Sites? Use a VPN

System administrators and network teams often block certain sites for security and productivity reasons. A good IT staff doesn’t want inexperienced employees to accidentally browse into a murky swamp of viruses and adware. Fortunately, VPN for Chrome encrypts your web traffic in a tunnel and replaced your IP address.

However, you don’t need a lot of technical skill or deep networking knowledge to use a VPN. The acronym stands for “virtual private network”. You can easily install VPN tools and unblock any website of your choice. Read this Surfshark guide which explains this further.

What’s more, you can install VPN tools on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. Especially in business settings, it’s important to use a tool that has a kill switch and a no logs policy. In this way, no outside party can track your VPN use.

If you need to get access to specific sites, your first step should be to put in a request with your system admin team and company leadership. Bypass doesn’t have to mean typing keys or downloading tools. Any resourceful business will review employee requests to make their work more efficient.

A VPN Creates a Secure Tunnel That Hides Your Activity

However, if that doesn’t work, you need a VPN. A VPN will create a secure tunnel that will hide your network activity. This will make it easier for you to navigate the web without restrictions.

Most businesses restrict the Internet using a firewall. Firewalls are programmed to block specific sites so that users can’t visit them. Alternatively, the business can configure the firewall to block everything except a few specific sites.

In most situations, businesses use a pre-built list of sites. Unless the business has suffered a major breach in the past, most businesses that want firewalls for security and productivity will trust a contractor to set up their system. It’s up to the contractor at that point to choose a firewall. What’s more, a contractor could be managing hundreds of contracts. This could lead to uniformity and complacency on the contractor’s part.

Complacency is your friend in these situations. Although it’s possible for businesses to crack down on VPN usage, it’s often more trouble than it’s worth. Businesses that need access to the Internet will be bogged down with Internet access requests. These requests create more work for the IT staff. And the business ends up spending more money as a consequence.

A Good VPN Will Protect You and Your Work Computer

Your privacy and productivity matter. If you’re looking for a good VPN provider check out A good VPN will protect you better than a pre-built firewall that has no customization. Here are a few other features to expect from a powerful VPN suite:

Clean Web Browsing

Wouldn’t it be ridiculous if you escaped the work network and ran into viruses immediately? With a clean web browsing service, you won’t have to deal with ads, trackers, and malware.

Privacy Across Public WiFi

Whether you’re using the company WiFi or taking the work laptop out to lunch or on a business trip, a VPN can lock down your connection in a secure tunnel. Sip coffee or grab a burger in peace.

Diamond-Strong Protection

Transferring sensitive personal or business data over the Internet is risky, so your data needs encryption. Industry-leading encryption means that your information is locked down and scrambled with the best security available.

Break Free of Restrictions

To break free of restrictions and boost your productivity, don’t waste time looking up small fixes on the web. Instead, contact a VPN professional to discuss your system access needs.

How to work your way up a company

New employees aren’t the only ones who dread being called into the boss’ office (and not in a good way) for the first time. It’s also stressful for you, the manager, when a new staffer’s work isn’t quite up to par.

You know it’s not enough to say, “Do better next time”—but what, exactly, do you say? Where do you begin? How much time do you spend on what went awry and how much on fixing it moving forward?

There are three common culprits for sub-standard work—lack of professionalism, gaps in training or skills, and wrong instinct. Identify which issue is plaguing your new hire, then begin a productive discussion with these suggestions on how to tackle each one.

1. Professionalism

Issues of professionalism are the quickest to spot. They mar otherwise well-researched, well-thought out work with nuisances—e.g., your marketing coordinator’s presentation was good, but she was 15 minutes late, or an otherwise solid press release is full of typos.

Whatever the reason—maybe your employee is overwhelmed, or perhaps she doesn’t really grasp the consequences of flouting protocol—the best approach here is to be straightforward, and tell the employee that her great work is being overshadowed by issues of professionalism.

Where possible, point to the work as the issue, not the employee herself, and explain in detail why the issue is a problem. For example, “That press release was fantastic—you really grasped what’s newsworthy about the event. But for an editor to take it seriously, the grammar needs to be impeccable, and I noticed several issues in this document.”

For more personal issues, you can also emphasize the relationship between professionalism and advancement. Begin the conversation by talking about someone in a senior role, and discuss how she’s known for being the grammar guru or the first one to arrive for a meeting. Making the conversation about someone who “gets it” is a way to talk through expectations without putting the employee on the defensive. By covering how professionalism adds to your opinion of a colleague, you’ll also be addressing how it detracts when missing.

2. Training

At my last job, each new employee had to endure an hours-long training on a donor management system during the first week on the job. But, let’s face it—while it was important to learn that software, the nuances of training didn’t always stick (which our boss would discover when an important donor disappeared from the system or was called twice by two different people).

It happens. So, if your new employee seems to be lacking skills he was supposed to learn on the job—the phone system, the database, whatever—schedule a one-on-one refresher to walk him through any FAQs. Approach this discussion from the “we’ve all been there” perspective (and maybe lighten the mood with a story about a mistake of your own). But this time, as you go through the training, highlight why paying attention to specifics matters (e.g., “As you see, we group members by the year they joined, so it’s crucial to input the date right away”).

Of course, if the employee doesn’t have the skills you expected him to come in with (i.e. the “social media expert” only knows Facebook and Twitter or the “Excel whiz” only knows basic functions), you have a bigger problem. Begin this discussion by saying that the first month on a job is the best time to ask questions and get training to fill in gaps, then bring up the specific issue: “I noticed the monthly report you turned in was a basic spreadsheet, but we typically use pivot tables for these. I was assuming you knew how to do that, but if not, I’d be happy to sign you up for some additional training.” Let him know you’re there as a resource for training or questions, but also be clear that you expect he’ll be working on and off the clock to get his skills up to speed.

3. Instinct

Has the new hire who touted his networking skills spent his first few events in the corner? Is he hard-selling a client you’d take a kid-gloves approach with?

This discussion is the trickiest, because you can end up coming off as a “my way or the highway” boss when addressing it. So, the first step is to ask yourself if that is in fact the case: Are you asking your sales reps to stick to phone calls over emails because of their success rate, or because that’s how you’ve always done it?

If it’s not a matter of innovation, but one of culture or effectiveness, you must get your new hire on the same page. Begin the conversation by asking him why he approached a situation a certain way. For example, “I noticed that you were really hard-selling Al in the sales meeting today. Why did you take that approach?” This will give you a better idea of where you need to course-correct: Is he being authoritative because he feels no one is listening to the new guy, or does he have no idea how he’s coming off?

Then, be sympathetic, but fill him in on “how things are done” from the viewpoint of the desired outcome. “I know it seems like that’s a great way to get him on board, but with these types of clients, we typically take another approach.” Then, explain why. By sharing not only what to do, but also why it’s a best practice, he’ll have a foundation for the next time he’s thinking on his feet.

I know: There are some discussions that are simply never going to be easy for the person on either side of the desk. But remember, by nipping problems in the bud, you’re helping your employee get on the right track—and that will decrease the need for these tough talks in the future.

Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader’s Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek. Read more.

How to work your way up a company

Windows 10 includes “Work Access” options, which you’ll find under Accounts in the Settings app. These are intended for people who need to connect to an employer or school’s infrastructure with their own devices. Work Access provides you access to the organization’s resources and gives the organization some control over your device.

These options may seem a bit complicated, but they’re really not. If you need to use Work Access, your organization will give you connection information and explain what you need to do to set things up and gain access to the organization’s resources.

What Are Work Access, Azure AD, and Device Management?

The “Work Access” options are intended for situations where you own your own computer and need to use it to access work or school resources. This is known as a “bring your own device,” or BYOD, scenario. The organization provides an account and various resources to you. These resources can include enterprise apps, certificates, and VPN profiles, for example. You give the organization some control over your device so it can be remotely managed and secured. How much control the organization exerts over your device is up to that specific organization and how its servers are configured.

This is an alternative to joining computers to a domain. Domain-joining is intended for devices an organization owns, while devices owned by employees or students should use Work Access options instead.

There are actually two Work Access options on this screen: Azure AD and Device Management.

  • Azure AD: As Microsoft’s Azure documentation explains, Windows 10 allows you to add a “work or school account” to your computer, tablet, or phone. The device is then registered in the organization’s Azure AD server and can be automatically enrolled in a mobile device management system–or not. That part is up to the organization. Administrators can apply different, less-restrictive policies to these personally-owned devices than they would to fully domain-joined employer-owned devices. The account provides single sign-on to work resources and applications.
  • Device Management: Azure AD can optionally enroll your device in an MDM, or mobile device management, server. However, you can also directly connect a Windows 10 device to a device management server. The organization that controls the server will then be able to collect information from your computer, control which apps are installed, restrict access to various settings, remotely wipe the device, and do other such things. Organizations also use MDM servers to remotely manage iPhones, iPads, and Android devices, so this allows Windows 10 devices to fit right in.

But you don’t really need to know all that if you need to use Work Access. Your organization will provide information about how to connect. After you connect, your organization can apply the company policies they prefer to your device. You can then access the organization’s resources.

How to work your way up a company

How to Sign In to Azure AD

To sign in to an Azure Active Directory server, open the Settings app, select “Accounts,” select “Your Email and Accounts,” scroll down, and click “Add a Work or School Account” under Accounts Used By Other Apps.

You can also go to Settings > Accounts > Access work or school and click “Add a Work or School Account,” but you’ll just be taken to the Your Email and Accounts screen anyway.

Enter the email address provided by your organization and its password to connect with the Azure AD server. The organization will provide information about accessing any resources and explain what you need to do next.

The account you add will appear as a “Work or School Account” under Accounts Used By Other Apps at the bottom of the Settings > Accounts > Your Email and Accounts screen. You can click or tap the account and disconnectthe account from here, if you need to.

How to work your way up a company

On the Azure AD side, your organization can view your connected device, provide resources to it, and apply policies.

How to work your way up a company

How to Enroll in Mobile Device Management

You can also enroll your device in device management, also known as mobile device management or MDM, from here.

To do so, visit Settings > Accounts > Work Access, scroll down, and select “Enroll in to Device Management.”

Update: In most situations, you will just want to click the “Connect” button on the latest version of this interface. However, there is also an “Enroll only in device management” option under Related Settings.

How to work your way up a company

You’ll be asked to provide the email address you need for the MDM server. You’ll also need to provide the server’s address if Windows can’t automatically discover it. Your organization will provide this server information to you if you need to connect.

How to work your way up a company

Removing a Work or School Account

To remove an account, head to Settings > Accounts > Access work or school, click the account, and select “Disconnect.”

If that doesn’t work, we found another workaround that worked for us:

Head to Settings > Accounts > Your info, select “Sign in with a local account instead,” and follow the process to sign in to your PC with a local account instead of a Microsoft account. After logging back into your PC, head to Settings > Accounts > Access work or school, click the account, and try to remove it again. Once the work or school account is removed, you can head to Setttings > Accounts > Your Info and sign back in with a Microsoft account.

To join a traditional Windows domain instead, if your organization provides one, select “Join or leave an organization” under Related Settings at the bottom of the Work Access pane. You’ll be taken to the Settings > System > About pane where you can join your device to a either a domain your organization hosts or a Microsoft Azure AD domain.

What’s it feel like, walking in to work or standing in the break room, sitting at your desk or tucked away in your office or cubicle?

The vibe of your workplace matters—if it’s ringing with silence or buzzing with chatter, if doors are open or closed, if employees are excited, or less than thrilled to get their days started, literally dragging themselves there. And it’s company culture that decides. So what is yours—or what do you want it to be?

Probably a place that inspires and motivates the people inside it to do their best, right? This magical environment, or the success that comes with it, doesn’t just show up, though; you’ve got to commit to making your business the best place ever to work.

We asked the Young Entrepreneur Council, “What is one thing you want to accomplish regarding company culture?” Here are their goals… which can be your goals, too:

1. Communicate and appreciate workers.

I’ve worked in too many roles where communication was nonexistent and hard work was not appreciated or acknowledged. This year is going to be the year of efficient communication and showing shameless praise for a job well done. When I’m engaged, challenged and appreciated, I’m unstoppable. And I have a feeling I’m not the only one who operates that way.

—Sydney Owen Williams, 3Ring Media

2. Learn to teach.

Something we continually strive for as an organization is to spend as much time as possible on learning and self-improvement. We’ve structured our entire work week around meetings and events that will help drive learning as much as possible. The next big thing we’re focused on is getting our entire staff engaged with teaching, as we’ve found there is no better way to learn than to teach.

3. Collaborate across departments.

One of the defining aspects of our company has been the intertwined nature of our business functions. Marketing is constantly talking to Tech, who always checks in with Sales, and so on. This has been easy considering the small size of our team. But as we grow and expand, it is a priority to maintain this transparency and collaborative environment to ensure a comprehensive approach.

4. Encourage an environment of acceptance.

A business runs smoothly when the culture is one of acceptance toward peers’ idiosyncrasies. Acceptance does away with the time-wasters of back-stabbing and social climbing. It takes team-building experiences to foster acceptance. It takes tight control of yourself to not roll your eyes at a ludicrous idea. It also takes making sure that your team believes in building each other up.

5. Focus on employee development.

We want to create a culture of curiosity and realization that we will never know enough. We want our employees to continually develop themselves, so we’re encouraging a fund for them to actively find and attend conferences. By sharing what they learn, they can inspire other employees around the office to be hungry for future growth.

6. Inspire a culture of self-awareness.

In order for organizations to prosper and grow, each individual must have a realistic view of their own set of strengths and weaknesses. They must acknowledge and accept where they currently are before they can begin to map out plans for improvement, and the culture should allow them the chance to accept who they are before attempts are made to change.

7. Improve employee independence.

Successful employees tell you what they did, rather than asking what to do. Moving forward over the next year, I’m going to try to encourage everyone in the company to make their own decisions instead of looking to managers to make their decisions for them.

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprising the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

How to work your way up a company

How to work your way up a company

When you are filling out a job application or applying for unemployment benefits, you may be asked for your employment history. This is a list of all the jobs you have held, including the companies you have worked for, job titles, and dates of employment.

In some cases, the hiring manager may only be interested in where you worked most recently. In others, the company may want an extensive employment history going back many years.

If you’ve been working for a long time, this may sound like a daunting task, but it is something you can recreate yourself even if you don’t remember exactly when you worked at each job. Once you’ve confirmed the details, you can keep track of subsequent positions moving forward, so it will be easier to provide the information to prospective employers.

When You Need to Know Your Employment History

It can be hard, especially if you’ve had a lot of jobs, to keep track of your personal employment history. However, when you’re applying for new positions, many companies want an accurate record of where you worked, especially when they’re conducting employment background checks. When you’re applying for unemployment benefits, you’ll need to provide your most recent work history as part of the application process.

If you don’t remember the details, and many people don’t, you can recreate them with information from the Social Security Administration, Internal Revenue Service, your state tax or unemployment department, and prior employers. It’s important to provide prospective employers with accurate information. Don’t guess where you worked and when, because, if you’re wrong, employers will want to know why.

If the dates don’t match what the employer discovers about you when they verify your employment history, it will be a red flag and could jeopardize your chances of getting hired.

Keep in mind that you can include the months/years you worked at a company rather than specific dates of employment on your resume. However, some job applications may require more specific details.

How to Find Your Employment History

How to work your way up a company

What can you do when you don’t remember your exact dates of employment? It will take some time, but you can recreate your work history yourself for no cost. Even though you may be tempted by ads for companies saying they will do it for a fee, you don’t need to pay a company to get the information for you.

Check With Your State Tax Department or Unemployment Office

State tax departments and unemployment agencies can often release employment histories for individuals, as long as they worked for in-state employers. In Washington State, for example, it’s called a “Self-Request for Records,” and you can request as far back as 10 years. In New York, you can request a transcript of your New York State wages and tax withholding. Most states have similar resources available.

Request Employment History from Social Security

You can receive a statement of your employment history from the Social Security Administration (SSA) by completing a “Request for Social Security Earnings Information” form. You’ll receive detailed information about your work history, including employment dates, employer names and addresses, and earnings.

The SSA charges a fee for detailed information based on the length of time for which you would like to receive records.

Use Your Tax Returns

If you have saved copies of your tax returns, you should have your copies of your W2 forms, as well. That will give you company information, and you should be able to estimate your dates of employment.

Request Transcripts of Your Tax Returns

You can request transcripts of previous years’ tax returns if you don’t have your copies. The IRS provides detailed instructions on how to get transcripts of your tax returns online or by mail.

Check With Prior Employers

You can also reconstruct your employment history by contacting the human resources department of any of your former employers if you’re not certain about your start and end dates of employment. Let them know that you would like to confirm the exact dates of employment that they have on record.

What Your Employment History Should Look Like on a Resume

Job seekers typically include work history in the “Experience” or “Related Employment” section of a resume:

  • In this section, list the companies you worked for, your job titles, and the dates of employment.
  • One additional element to your resume work history is a list (often a bulleted list) of your achievements and responsibilities at each job.
  • You do not need to (and should not) include every work experience in your “Experience” section. Focus on jobs, internships, and even volunteer work that is related to the job at hand.

Make sure that whatever work history you include on your job applications matches what is on your resume and LinkedIn profile. Make sure there are no inconsistencies that could raise a red flag for employers.

How to Keep Track of Your Job History

For future reference, an easy way to keep track of your personal employment history is to keep your resume and LinkedIn profile up to date.

  • Add the new information whenever you change jobs, receive a promotion, add new responsibilities, record a significant accomplishment, or receive any awards. This way, you will have a current copy of your work history whenever you need it.
  • Even if you don’t include all those jobs on your resume (and you don’t need to), save a master copy that includes your work and educational history in its entirety. That will make it much easier to provide the information employers require on your resume and in job applications.
  • Creating and updating a detailed LinkedIn profile is another excellent way to maintain current documentation of your employment history, educational background, and accomplishments.

Article Sources

Washington State Employment Security Department. “Request Your Own Records – Individual.” Accessed Feb. 13, 2022.

New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. “Request a Transcript of New York State Wages and Withholding.” Accessed Feb, 13, 2022.

Social Security Administration. “Request for Social Security Earning Information.” Accessed Feb. 13, 2022.

How to work your way up a company

Don’t hide who you are. Do set boundaries.

If you see networking and work interactions as transactional, you’re likely missing out on an opportunity to form deeper connections — which are integral to career success and growth, no matter what field you work in.

  • How do you actually share your “authentic” self in a professional setting, and how can you do it in a smart and sustainable way?
  • Try to see everyone you come across as a human, rather than a work contact. Once you shift your mindset, you’ll start building deeper relationships.
  • Nurture your relationships — even when you don’t need something from the other person. The best tool you have here is listening. Pay attention to other people’s interests and passions, and follow up when you come across things that remind you of them.
  • Lastly, set boundaries. Bringing your true self to work means being vulnerable, and not everyone deserves or needs to see that side of you. Put your energy into the relationships that energize you.

Don’t hide who you are. Do set boundaries.

Where your work meets your life. See more from Ascend here.

You’ve probably heard this advice before: Bring your “authentic” self to work. It makes sense. Being yourself is the best way to form meaningful relationships, which are integral to career success and growth, no matter what field you work in. Research shows that people with a robust social network have better job performance, feel more fulfilled, and even live longer.

But how do you actually share your “authentic” self in a professional setting, and how can you do it in a smart and sustainable way?

Showing up totally unfiltered and trusting everyone who crosses your path could go downhill quickly. On the other hand, if you keep things surface level and hide your true self, you might miss out on forming the type of relationships that can enrich your life and career.

As a business owner, this is a territory I’ve had to navigate time and again — and I can tell you firsthand that building strong connections with my colleagues and peers is what has fueled my success. Here’s what I’ve learned along the way about how to form these kinds of relationships in ways that feel productive, and not draining.

There is no “work self.”

Do you feel like there’s one version of you that shows up during work meetings and another, more authentic version that shows up with friends? It’s understandable — you don’t choose your colleagues or clients, and most work meetings require a certain degree of professionalism. But if you see networking and work interactions as transactional, you’re likely missing out on an opportunity to form deeper connections, which can only happen when you show up as your full self.

Let me give you an example: I recently joined a business Zoom call where everyone was talking about the weather. Oh, it’s sunny there? It’s so gloomy here! Weather is not a bad topic. It’s something we all experience. But it’s also probably not going to lead to a meaningful conversation. When I joined the call, I related the weather back to something more personal: I am not fond of rainy days because walking is THE thing that has been helping me get through this pandemic. I’ve walked more than 1,200 miles since September.

I shared something specific and vulnerable. I also spoke like a human, as I would in a room of friends. This isn’t something I have to “try” to do — at least not anymore. It’s a skill I’ve developed over the course of my career through regular practice. I learned that people become more comfortable when you show a wee bit more vulnerability. It’s why, today, I don’t have a delineation between work and personal connections: Friends I meet at the gym often turn into clients, and clients turn into friends who come to dinner parties.

I recommend you practice this yourself. Try to see everyone you come across as a human, rather than a work contact.

It’s a practice.

Showing up as your “authentic” self is the baseline to building meaningful relationships at work, but it also requires time and intent. The best tool you have here is listening. When I have a conversation with someone new and sense a good connection, I try to pay attention to important details like what they’re passionate about, where they work, or something they’ve found specifically challenging.

Then, I follow up.

If I find an article that reminds me of our conversation, I send it. If I’m hosting an event that they might find valuable, I invite them. If I meet someone else I think they should meet, I introduce them. On a new business call, if I visited a restaurant recommended by a colleague, I make a point to follow up with them and let them know how good the hummus or pasta puttanesca was. Being an active listener also helps you gauge quickly who you want to build deeper connections with (or not).

What this all really boils down to, in addition to being a good listener, is asking, “How can I help?” Being generous with your suggestions, ideas and connections — even when you don’t need something from the other person — is one of the most powerful ways to connect.

That said, help in ways that energize you rather than exhaust you. Don’t take on things that will require too much of your time — a three-minute introduction is low effort, but high impact! — and focus on helping people whom you authentically respect, rather than ones who you worry may take advantage or put you in an uncomfortable position.

You don’t have to connect with everyone.

Bringing your true self to work means being vulnerable, and not everyone deserves or needs to see that side of you. And of course, you aren’t obligated to help every person who crosses your path. Setting boundaries is important for a number of reasons: It helps you preserve your time, prevents burnout, protects you from breaches of trust, and allows you to focus on the relationships that give you joy.

First, remember the goal is not to tell your life’s story to every person the moment you meet them. You can build toward meaningful relationships with the right people — trust your gut on who to trust. Beware of people who only want to hear about you but don’t reveal anything about themselves, or people who only want to talk and don’t care to listen.

Relationships should be reciprocal. Start by choosing a handful of people in your professional life who you want to deepen your relationship with, and ask them for a coffee date or virtual drink. If you don’t authentically enjoy the relationship, it’s not worth your time.

Focusing on and making space for these deeper connections has allowed me to fuse my life and my work without burnout, overwhelm, or anxiety. It can work for you, too. You have the power to create your own communities. Begin with something simple: showing up.

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How to work your way up a company


  • How to Tell My Boss About an Internal Interview
  • How to Tell Your Boss You Want to Be Demoted
  • What to Tell Your Bosses to Let Them Know You Really Appreciate Your Job
  • Examples of Prepping for an Internal Interview
  • How to Deal With the Boss Who Ignores You

When you love the company you work for but feel your current position is no longer a good fit, it’s time to ask your boss for a different job. Frame the discussion in a way that expresses your commitment to the organization, while simultaneously demonstrating why a move to another role will benefit both you and your employer.

Identify the Job You Want

The first step in asking for a new job is to identify exactly what it is you want to do. Perhaps there’s an opening you’re interested in applying for, or a brand new position you’d like to create for yourself. Prepare for your conversation with your boss by really thinking through the specifics of what you want to do. Draft points that include the following:

  • Your proposed title
  • An overview of your responsibilities and duties
  • Notation of who you will report to, and who you will supervise
  • An overview of your qualifications for the role
  • Your proposed salary.

Going into the meeting with a well-prepared plan will give you an edge.

When It’s Time to Move Up

If you’ve outgrown your current job and are looking for something more challenging, your boss is likely to understand your desire to move up the ladder. Ask for time to speak privately, and launch into your discussion with an appreciation for what you’ve been able to achieve to date.


I want to let you know how much I appreciate the opportunities I’ve had as your executive assistant. I’ve learned so much from you, in fact, that I feel I would be an asset to the organization in a role with a bit more responsibility. I’d like to propose transitioning into a communications specialist role where I can build on my skills and help advance the company’s strategic objectives in the community.

When It’s Too Much

If you have a job that is overwhelming for you, but you don’t want to leave the company, it’s time to have a frank conversation with your supervisor. Describe why you feel your current role is unsuitable, and why another role would be more appropriate.


When I took this position, I assumed I’d be handling a light call volume with very little meeting preparation. In reality, the workload is much greater than anticipated, and I don’t feel I’m well-suited for the extreme degree of multitasking that’s required. I don’t want to leave the company, but I do want to work in an area where I’ll be most useful. For these reasons, I’d like to ask for a different job.

Not a Good Fit

Sometimes, a job just isn’t a good fit. Maybe you don’t mesh with your colleagues, the work isn’t what you thought it would be, or you just don’t feel enthused enough about the role to give it your all. If you’ve already worked on ways to assimilate yourself and find something to like about the job, but remain indifferent or unhappy, be upfront about it with your boss.


As much as I enjoy being part of this company, I don’t feel like I’m a good fit for this unit. I feel I’m more effective and productive when I work independently, rather than in a group, and I see there’s a night-shift manager position open in the warehouse division. I’d like to be considered for the job.

Regardless of the reason for your job change request, approach your discussion from a perspective of someone who wants to make a move that’s good for you, and good for the company. If your request is denied, ask to continue the conversation in a different vein to help you brainstorm ways in which you can find professional fulfillment in your current role.

  • Fox Business: 7 Tips for Talking to the Boss About Changing Positions
  • Time Money: Why You Should Tell Your Boss About the Job You Really Want

Lisa McQuerrey has been an award-winning writer and author for more than 25 years. She specializes in business, finance, workplace/career and education. Publications she’s written for include Southwest Exchange and InBusiness Las Vegas.

Join your work-owned Windows 10 device to your organization’s network so you can access potentially restricted resources.

What happens when you join your device

While you’re joining your Windows 10 device to your work or school network, the following actions will happen:

Windows registers your device to your work or school network, letting you access your resources using your personal account. After your device is registered, Windows then joins your device to the network, so you can use your work or school username and password to sign in and access restricted resources.

Optionally, based on your organization’s choices, you might be asked to set up two-step verification through either two-step verification or security info.

Optionally, based on your organization’s choices, you might be automatically enrolled in mobile device management, such as Microsoft Intune. For more info about enrolling in Microsoft Intune, see Enroll your device in Intune.

You’ll go through the sign-in process, using automatic sign-in with your work or school account.

To join a brand-new Windows 10 device

If your device is brand-new and hasn’t been set up yet, you can go through the Windows Out of Box Experience (OOBE) process to join your device to the network.

Start up your new device and begin the Windows Out of Box Experience.

On the Sign in with Microsoft screen, type your work or school email address.

How to work your way up a company

On the Enter your password screen, type your password.

How to work your way up a company

On your mobile device, approve your device so it can access your account.

How to work your way up a company

Complete the Out of Box Experience, including setting your privacy settings and setting up Windows Hello (if necessary).

Your device is now joined to your organization’s network.

To make sure you’re joined (new device)

You can make sure that you’re joined by looking at your settings.

Open Settings, and then select Accounts.

How to work your way up a company

Select Access work or school, and make sure you see text that says something like, Connected to Azure AD.

To join an already configured Windows 10 device

If you’ve had your device for a while and it’s already been set up, you can follow these steps to join your device to the network.

Open Settings, and then select Accounts.

Select Access work or school, and then select Connect.

How to work your way up a company

On the Set up a work or school account screen, select Join this device to Azure Active Directory.

How to work your way up a company

On the Let’s get you signed in screen, type your email address (for example, [email protected]), and then select Next.

How to work your way up a company

On the Enter password screen, type your password, and then select Sign in.

How to work your way up a company

On your mobile device, approve your device so it can access your account.

How to work your way up a company

On the Make sure this is your organization screen, review the information to make sure it’s right, and then select Join.

How to work your way up a company

On the You’re all set screen, click Done.

How to work your way up a company

To make sure you’re joined

You can make sure that you’re joined by looking at your settings.

Open Settings, and then select Accounts.

How to work your way up a company

Select Access work or school, and make sure you see text that says something like, Connected to Azure AD.

How to work your way up a company

Next steps

After you join your device to your organization’s network, you should be able to access all of your resources using your work or school account information.

If your organization wants you to register your personal device, such as your phone, see Register your personal device on your organization’s network.

If your organization is managed using Microsoft Intune and you have questions about enrollment, sign-in, or any other Intune-related issue, see the Intune user help content.

Putting off creating your company’s core values? Unless procrastination is one of them, it’s time.

How to work your way up a company

Ajay Pattani is an Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) member from Chicago and founder (and reigning ping pong champion) of Perfect Search Media , a search and social agency named to the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing companies and Inc.’s Best Workplaces 2018 list . Ajay counts his business core values among the company’s most important assets, so we asked how he created them and what impact they provide. Here’s what he shared:

When you’re interviewing applicants to join your company, you want to make sure they’re the right fit. It’s not just about whether or not they have certain skills–it’s also about whether they reflect your organization’s mission and values. One of my go-to interview questions is: “Describe an experience in your last role where you took initiative and created or implemented a process.”

I like that question because it provides insights that resonate with our company’s core value of taking initiative. This has the dual benefit of giving us the opportunity to share our values while determining whether the applicant personifies them or has the potential to do so. We’re a proactive group, so in every interview, we tie questions back to our core values. And it goes even further than that: In our company, we tie our core values to pretty much everything.

Delineate what distinguishes your company

Core values guide how an organization thinks and behaves; they’re the bedrock on which business decisions are made and successful relationships are formed. Once defined, core values should be visible in every aspect of company operations: from sales and marketing to internal reviews to employee check-ins. At our quarterly offsite meetings, we review each core value and give shout-outs to individuals who’ve exemplified them.

As a nod to their esteemed place in our company culture, our core values are painted prominently on one of our office walls:

Take Initiative: Be proactive, challenge each other, take risks and adapt.
Be Passionate: Care about your work and take pride in what you do.
Have Fun: Create a positive work space and build strong relationships.
Value Teamwork: Approach problems with a “we over me” mentality.
Ensure Growth: Learn and evolve personally, professionally, as a team and as a firm.

These values are such a huge part of our company that we can’t fathom a time before they existed. But they’re not inherent to any organization. You have to create them–we had to do it, too–and it can take a lot of work. But it’s a labor of love: Your core values already exist, you just have to identify, define and delineate them.

Trust the process

But don’t rush it. The process of developing our core values was neither quick nor easy. Once we realized the need for organizational values, we knew we wanted to develop them together, as a team. This bottom-up approach made sense because we wanted all team members and our existing culture to guide and inform what’s important to us.

We found that the best time to brainstorm core values was during our weekly company meetings. We’d split up into small groups, and each would list the qualities that they believed we embodied. Once we had each team’s list, we noticed overlap and patterns–which was reassuring. The qualities of “taking initiative” and “being proactive” were so similar that it made sense to combine them.

We also didn’t want too many or too few. Our team decided that five was a reasonable number that’s easy to remember, while thorough enough to cover all the bases. Then we narrowed the full list, chose the most important values, and workshopped them into concise statements. That’s how the core values list above was born.

Revisit and evolve

However, that doesn’t mean the list is static. In fact, a few months later we decided to combine “have passion” and “have pride” into one core value and add “have fun” as its own standalone value. It more accurately represented our team and our overall purpose.

For nearly two years we’ve worked under the guidance of these five core values; I believe they still accurately reflect our team. We also recently realized that these values embody our account service team as well. Because of this, we now promote our core values in sales and marketing materials as a differentiator for our agency. We’re proud to share the values that drive our organizational decisions and direction.

Ready to define your core values?

Our core values are more than just words. They are our way of life. If your business is creating or updating its core values, here are some lessons we’ve learned:

  • Make them detailed with summary headings so they are easy to remember.
  • Ensure visibility so that your team can view and review them daily, rather than burying them in an employee handbook.
  • Leverage core values within company communications alongside kudos given to departments or team members.
  • Revisit them on an annual basis. As your culture evolves, so may your values.

Companies with strong cultures are known to perform better than those without. Although creating and leveraging core values may seem daunting, the impact to your company culture can be tremendous. So, gather your team and get ready to brainstorm!

Hi, I’m Mike Evans! I’m here to show you through my own experience exactly what I did to build a multi million dollar international security company from scratch. We offer comprehensive tutorial eBooks as well as the exact contracts, proposals and manuals that I still use to this day. I’m here to show you what works.

How to work your way up a company

Security Business In A Box

The ultimate do it yourself resource for starting your own successful security guard company. We teach you step by step how to open and operate your security guard company and provide you the critical documents you will need for your day to day operations.

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How to work your way up a company

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Sign up to receive your free Security Company Costing Manual.

Start a Security Company

The need for security has significantly increased over the past couple of decades. From physical security to network security to information security, individual users and companies have searched for the most effective ways to ensure that their business is protected from the numerous threats that exist. With this growing need for security, many entrepreneurs are looking into starting their own security company in order to satisfy the demand for this critical service by both individuals and corporations. However, similar to most other types of businesses, starting a security company requires knowledge, experience and a well executed game plan. is the world’s industry leader in security business consulting. We are an A+ rated firm with the Better Business Bureau, a TrustGuard Verified business and a verified merchant for

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Have aspirations to own and operate a successful security guard business? Contact us now to find out how we can put our 12 years of experience in building successful security companies to work for you.

How to work your way up a company

Security Service Templates

Security Service Proposal

How to work your way up a company

Avoid the painstaking task of proposal writing and especially avoid the bank breaking expenses associated with contracting a Proposal Contractor to write your proposals.

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CC Authorization

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A security service contract template that has been instrumental in limiting liability and for providing a specific binding agreement between potential buyers and clientele.

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Security Service Contract

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If you haven’t completed a legal studies program for paralegals or obtained your Juris Doctorate, we’ve got you covered with this pertinent legal document that’s been professionally written and designed.

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Bodyguard Contract

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Our editable bodyguard contract should be used by security companies that offer the following services: Bodyguards, Personal Security Details, Executive Protection, Personal Protection or any security functions related to the protection of a person’s life or well-being.

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Power Point Proposal

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This proposal is derived from our static service proposal, which has been instrumental in procuring contracts with fortune 500 clientele and small businesses.

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Subcontractor Agreement

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Designed for use by licensed security or private investigation companies in utilizing independent contractors or other licensed companies for contract work.

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SOP Manual

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A standard operating procedure is your key to limiting liability and acts as a guided hand during emergencies and day to day operations.

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Business Plan

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Our Security Company Sample Business Plan accurately defines your security business, identifies your goals, and serves as your firm’s resume.

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How to work your way up a company

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You want a fresh start, not a new enemy.

Successful startups may run into many growing pains and hurdles during their first several years of existence, including partnership breakups. If you take the statistics commonly used today at face value, the odds are not in a partnership’s favor. The average startup breakup rate can be 20-30% higher than marriage divorce rates. If the pairing at the heart of a joint venture starts to fail, knowing how to end the relationship can save the business from a PR nightmare.

How to work your way up a companyJohn Wildgoose | Getty Images

Here’s how to do it professionally, and some of the warning signs to watch out for.

Prepare now for an unexpected future.

Right now, you may see a long, fruitful, or even permanent future with your business partner. You may even be sharing an apartment because things are clicking so well right now. This will most likely not last forever.

Facebook founders Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg legendarily split, the Apple CEO in the 1980s ousted Steve Jobs for several years, and countless musical groups have broken up personally and professionally over the decades. In other words, a split can happen to anyone.

People and businesses change over time, and planning for the unexpected is smart. As you and your partner work on a partnership agreement, dedicate time to crafting a dissolution strategy. In the event of a death, catastrophic injury, or personal differences, how will the business move forward? If you know how to handle the dissolution today, a future partnership split may not seem so dramatic.

Warning signs of an imminent split.

As with other warning signs, an isolated event rarely indicates the likelihood of a split. When issues build over time and the problems interfere with business and/or personal health, common problems turn into potential deal breakers. Some of the most common signs of a partnership break include:

1. Somebody isn’t carrying their weight: An unbalanced share of responsibilities leaves one partner with more of the stress. Business partners, much like parents, friends, and roommates, often need to feel a sense of balance in the relationship to avoid conflict. When it seems as though one partner is handling the majority of operations and the other is enjoying more of the benefits, relationship strains can arise.

Maintaining balance means you must keep open lines of communication because the term balance can have many definitions in business. One founder may feel as though they are unfairly burdened by running day-to-day business operations. While the other, who may consistently bring in big clients on the sales front, feels as though they’re not getting enough credit. The underlying idea here is, when partners feel they can’t express themselves, the imbalance can create irreparable relationship problems. Stay in communication.

2. Partners vehemently disagree on fundamental business decisions: Disagreements are part of every working relationship. To move past fundamental differences in business philosophies and decision making, business partners must learn how to effectively collaborate. When compromise is difficult to attain, disagreements can lead to unresolved operational issues. Disagreements on personnel, finances, and customer service can deepen any rift between partners.

3. Different working styles cause daily strains: In personal and professional partnerships, different personality types often come together, united in a sense of excitement about an idea or product. But, that unity can be eroded by an incompatible mishmash of working styles. Some people see business operations as a routine and value consistency. Others prefer to do things when they feel like it instead of using a schedule. Are your working styles a match? During tough times, opposing working styles exacerbate other underlying issues.

Make a clean split.

As tensions rise, business partners can choose to take the high road or turn a business split into a personal vendetta. Since business arrangements often impact personal financial security, separating personal feelings from decision-making is key. If you reach the point of no return, use these tips to keep your business split professional:

Communicate when you feel calm: Give yourself time to feel frustrated, hurt, and/or betrayed, but avoid communicating with anyone in the business at the time. Negotiate, make business decisions, and otherwise interact with the company when you can separate emotion from operational choices.

Determine your priorities: Identify the business matters that are most important to you. Evaluate the financial and operating consequences of a buyout, business classification shift, or another solution. What outcome will make you happiest five years from now? Explore tax liabilities, your personal financial situation, and your future professional goals before deciding on any terms not previously agreed to in a dissolution plan.

Accept professional help: Attorneys and financial representatives can provide expert advice on how to approach a split, what terms to ask for, and when to finalize decisions. You may need to revisit the partnership agreement and gain a full understanding of the business’s financials to protect your interests before you act on any exit strategy.

Breakups of any kind can be hard, and business partners sometimes go through romantic and professional splits at the same time. Regardless of your business arrangement, separate emotion from reason to avoid unnecessary conflict and quickly move forward with your life.

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Many companies see the appeal of combining office life with work-from-home flexibility. How to strike the right balance can be less clear.

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How to work your way up a company

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As companies reopen their offices, they are deciding how the virtual work arrangements they’ve relied on during the pandemic will factor into their long-term plans — or not.

Google’s “flexible workweek” calls for employees to spend at least three days a week in the office and the rest at home. Microsoft’s “hybrid workplace” means most employees can spend up to half their time working remotely. Ford Motor’s “flexible hybrid work model” leaves it up to workers and their managers to decide how much time they need to spend in the office.

Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase don’t have names for their postpandemic policies, because they expect most employees to return to the office for most of the time. Goldman’s C.E.O., David Solomon, called working from home an “aberration,” and JPMorgan’s chief, Jamie Dimon, said it had “serious weaknesses.”

But many companies have hatched a postpandemic plan in which employees return to the office for some of the time while mixing in more work from home than before. The appeal of this compromise is clear: Employers hope to give employees the flexibility and focus that come from working at home without sacrificing the in-person connections of the office.

How, exactly, to strike this balance can be less obvious.

Should companies require employees to be in the office on certain days? For a set number of days each week? How should those in the office accommodate colleagues working remotely?

To help answer pressing questions like these, DealBook assembled advice from experts about where to start, how to avoid common pitfalls, and the most important things to consider when not everyone is working in the same place.

Where to start

By Robert C. Pozen and Alexandra Samuel

Mr. Pozen, a senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, and Ms. Samuel, a technology researcher, are the authors of “Remote, Inc.: How to Thrive at Work … Wherever You Are.”

A review of the research on virtual teams comes up short on universal best practices for designing a hybrid office. But it does suggest certain factors that companies should focus on. We call these five factors FLOCS: function, location, organization, culture and schedule.

What is the function of each team member? A team that spends many hours on brainstorming or collaborative tasks needs more time at the workplace. By contrast, teams that do a lot of deep, focused work benefit from the relative quiet of home.

What is the location of each team member? Hiring in a single metropolitan area means you can join your teammates in a nearby office or meet up easily for one-on-one meetings. Conversely, there’s no point in making employees report to the nearest office if everyone they work with is in another city.

What is the structure of the organization? In a comparison of two accounting companies, researchers found that a flatter hierarchy helped facilitate virtual work, because remote workers didn’t feel too far from the center of the organization. Our own research also found a strong correlation between employee autonomy and productivity outside the office.

What is the culture of the company? Companies with an individualistic culture seem to make a smoother transition to virtual work; by contrast, companies that stress “us” over “me” have been slower to adopt online collaboration.

What is each team’s schedule? If schedules are similar and work is interdependent, it’s good to encourage everyone to work roughly at the same time. If employees live in different time zones, it’s better to set a few common windows for real-time communications like videoconferences, and let most other work unfold through email or document sharing.

These factors make it easier for managers to address the most common challenges faced by hybrid teams. Take communication barriers: What if half the team is in the office and the other half is dialing in from home? If their locations are dispersed (so the Zoom callers can’t make it into the office) and the organization is flat and decentralized, the company could use a buddy system to make each person in the room responsible for keeping one particular Zoom caller fully in the conversation. If the caller misses something, the in-room buddy can fill in that person via text chat; if the caller is being talked over, the in-room buddy can step in to ensure that the person is heard.

Another common dilemma is deciding exactly who will be in the office on which days. This is further complicated by a significant gap between executive and employee perspectives, with most executives feeling that company culture depends on people spending at least three days a week in the office and most employees saying they want to spend at least three days a week working remotely.

It’s difficult to accomplish anything significant if your personal goals aren’t in sync with your company’s strategy.

How to work your way up a company

Our team didn’t always set specific goals back in the very early days of ThirdLove.

Somehow we were a small enough group that everyone knew what everyone else was doing and why. In fact, I couldn’t even say we were aligned or misaligned, because there simply weren’t goals to be aligned with in the first place.

But it’s impossible for a company to scale and grow without setting goals. And, as an individual, it’s difficult to accomplish anything significant or develop as a leader if your personal goals aren’t aligned with the company’s higher-level goals.

Here’s how to figure out what you should be working on and how to get in sync with your company’s strategy:

Get clear on the company’s goals

Every business needs a list of clearly articulated company goals to give team members an idea of how to choose their personal goals. At the individual level, any goal you set at work should ladder up to one of the company’s stated higher-level goals.

For instance, let’s say the goal for our design team is to bring down our return percentage over the next year. For the technical designers, their individual goals might be to study the styles with the highest return rates and then make changes to bring those rates down. It’s clear how that goal ladders up to support our higher-level goal of decreasing the overall return percentage.

Ideally, everyone on a team should be able to trace the path from their individual goals all the way up to the broader company goals.

Align your goals with your manager

There are only two scenarios in which you might realize that your goals don’t support the company’s larger goals:

First, what you’re doing might actually be important to the company, but for whatever reason, it isn’t on the stated list of company goals. In that case, you need to have a conversation with your manager to make sure that your goal is added to the list. If leadership has missed the importance of what you’re working on, you need to raise your hand and voice that issue.

The second possibility is that the goal isn’t a company priority. If that happens, you need to have a conversation with your manager about how your time is being spent. What is the importance of this project? How does it tie back to the company’s larger goals? Is there something else you could be doing that may be a better fit for the company’s strategy?

If you discover that one of your goals is not a priority for the company, you need to regroup with your manager and figure out which path will get you back on track.

Establish the baseline for each personal goal

To measure progress, you need to have a base for success.

But you’d be surprised at how many people begin working toward a goal without figuring out their baseline first. For example, at ThirdLove we have a certain threshold for return rates. If the rate rises above a certain percentage, that indicates a problem, and we need to pull the product.

But in order to know if there is a problem, we have to know our baseline return rate. We can’t set a goal to improve our overall rate without first knowing what we’re measuring against.

The same concept applies to your personal goals. To advance in a purposeful way, you have to be able to track your progress against a baseline.

Be open to change when your goals no longer align with the company’s goals

When I worked at Aéropostale, one of my projects was helping to launch a new tween brand for the company–and I was highly invested in making it a success. Unfortunately, despite our efforts, there came a point when I realized that it wasn’t going to be successful. I wasn’t going to accomplish my goal.

I still remember how hard it was to let go of that project.

It’s extremely difficult to come to terms with failure and let go of a goal that’s no longer achievable. But your goals aren’t set in stone.

You have to accept that there may be changes in direction or evolution that occurs from one quarter to the next. If your work no longer aligns with the company’s larger goals, it isn’t a sign of weakness to move on and realign. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure or you’ll never be promoted. It just means you’ve tried something, you’ve learned from it, and you’re ready to move on to the next project.

As long as your work is aligned with the company’s strategy, you’ll always find opportunities to develop and accomplish your personal goals.

A lot has been made about the productivity benefits of the four day workweek—either in the form of a 32 hour week, or a 40 hour week. That’s all well and good, but convincing your boss to let you change your schedule completely is tough. Here’s one way to approach your boss and convince them to give the four day week a chance.

First off, the only way you’ll know if you can transition to a four day week, or any type of more flexible work schedule, is if you ask. Some bosses and jobs are easier to convince than others, but the general steps for approaching your boss are the same either way.

Step One: Assess Your Own Schedule

The first thing you need to do is take a look at your current work schedule and see if it’s even possible to work a four day week. When you’re doing this, think a little differently about how you go about your day, what you do, and if it’s possible to move things around to fit into four days.

Keep in mind that you have a lot of different options here. You can, for instance, suggest a four day work week every two weeks, or change days off each week. You can also work four, ten hour days, or go for the 32 hour week and work four, eight hour days. Play around with your schedule until you feel like you have a plan that works for you, and might work for your employer. If you go for the 10 hour days, Productivity 501 suggests you also consider coming in earlier in the day instead of later, and that you keep in mind that staying productive for 10 hours a day might be harder than you think.

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Also make sure to ask yourself the reasons you want to do a four day week. Is it because you want the work/life balance of a day off? Is it because you’re always taking work home with you four days a week anyway? Is your commute killing you and you just want to drop one day of it? Or another reason? Your reasons are part of the case you build for your boss, so make sure they’re solid. Photo by Eliazar Parra Cardenas .

Step Two: Form Your Plan and Build Your Case

Coming up with your own schedule is just the first part of your argument. The second is formulating an actual plan and providing your boss with a case for your argument.

Thankfully, evidence exists that you can use to boost your argument. Utah experimented with the four day week and the data suggests that workers were happier, even with the longer, ten hour days. In an opinion piece in the New York Times, 37Signals CEO Jason Fried suggests that the 32 hour workweek has boosted productivity. 37Signals’ model gives workers a four day work week for six months out of the year, and then returns to the five day week for the other six months. If you need more evidence, NPR suggests when you’re happy with your work schedule, you’re more likely to get things done , even in a shorter period of time.

Four-Day Workweek Saves $1.8 Million in Utah, Makes Workers Happy

According to the Scientific American and a recent study conducted in Utah over the last year, the…

Then start focusing on the specifics of your plan. How will your schedule work? Can people still get in touch with you on your day off? Are you willing to call into a meeting if it’s on your day off? Think of every tiny detail your boss might ask, and come up with an answer for it.

If your new schedule has an effect on other employees, make sure you talk with them as well, and see if they’re interested in converting to a four day work week with you. After all, you’ll always have power in numbers.

Another thing to consider is that your new schedule could be considered an office perk. If raises aren’t an option, pitching your new schedule as a perk is a great alternative. Personally, I used to work for a company that was on a salary freeze, and I used that freeze to pitch a 32 hour week, with retained benefits. It worked, and I was a lot happier afterwards.

Negotiate for Office Perks when More Money Isn’t an Option

Sometimes there’s no money in the budget for a raise. That doesn’t mean you can’t be rewarded for…

Step Three: Present Your Plan to the Boss

By now you should have created a dummy schedule that puts you in a four day work week, talked with your coworkers, and compiled a list of the productivity benefits associated with your new schedule. It’s time to chat with your boss. If it’s a formal job, schedule a meeting, if they’re not formal, pop in and talk with them whenever they’re free. You can present your case in the same way you’d convince your boss to let you work remotely, or on flex time. According to CNN, it’s a good idea to present your case like a business proposal . This means you pitch the idea, present your productivity evidence, and then dive into the details.

Keep in mind your boss might have alternative solutions as well, so keep the conversation as open as possible. If your boss is waffling on the idea, you can always suggest a trial period of a month to see how it works out.

If it’s not sinking in, you might want to pursue alternative solutions for a flexible schedule that might still help you level out your workday. Photo by Phil Sexton .

If Your Plan Fails, Brainstorm Alternative Solutions

If the four day work week isn’t an option your boss is willing to accept, all is not lost. You have other options that can at least change how you spend your time at the office. One option if you’re stuck in the office is try out the 20-percent time idea . This basically means that each day at work you allocate some time to work on a non-work project. This might be 10 minutes a day, or one day a week—but the point is that you break up your work time with something productive, but not work related.

Set Up Your Own Google-Style 20-Percent Time to Try New Projects

Google lets its employees spend one day each work week focusing on their own projects, a practice…

Another option is to convince your boss to let you work remotely . You can often do this in the same way you’d pitch your boss the four day work week. You don’t have to telecommute every day, of course, but a day a week might be enough to give you the break away from the office you need to recharge and get things done.

A job interview can be nerve-wracking. Sometimes an interviewer will even intentionally try to trip you up verbally so that he or she can see how you respond under pressure. However, most of the questions are simply meant to help assess your professionalism, work ethic, and likelihood to fit in with the team of people at the company.

Almost every job interview will have the question “What is your greatest weakness?” Sometimes this is followed or replaced by “how can you improve your work performance?’ Here are some tips on how to answer question how to improve your work performance.

Three Tips to Answering Questions on How to Improve Your Work Performance

Tip #1: Never bring up a serious character or personality flaw. If you bring up something that will greatly affect your ability to perform the job, there is no way they will hire you. A better idea is to admit to a smaller weakness, then state a method you have developed to work on improving this problem.

A sample of how to answer questions on how to improve your work performance might be: I believe that like a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so a person is only as strong as his (or her) weakness. I try to search for those weaknesses and find ways to improve.

For instance, I have a tendency to be single-minded when starting a new task that I am excited about. To combat this, I break down every project into goals and deadlines, putting reminders in the calendar on my phone. This keeps all my responsibilities being completed on time and with quality.

Sample Question and Answer on Improving Your Work Performance

Tip #2: Use this opportunity to tell about goals for furthering your education within the field. Employers are usually looking for ambitious and self-motivated employees. Think of the goals you have and the ways for continuing education (that you can do while in the position) to improve your performance.

A sample of how to answer question how to improve your work performance in this case is: I see so much opportunity in this field. I am planning to learn and grow as a (insert vocation) by taking courses online and reading through the industry literature. Right now, I am reading (insert title).

How to work your way up a company

Note: make sure you really are reading that book or article because the interviewer might also have read it and engage you in conversation about it.

Tip #3: Bring your answer back to basic work skills and your specific approaches to doing those well.

An idea of how to answer question how to improve your work performance this way is: High levels of work performance are based on the ability to organize, manage time, and work well with others. I use a color-coded filing system to help increase accuracy and speed when working on projects.

I also use a computer calendar with reminder notifications that alert me of approaching deadlines to improve my time management skills. I also recently read an article communicating effectively with colleagues and clients using email and other technology and am implementing the suggestions in my communications.

Note: Always consider your own experiences when figuring out how to answer question how to improve your work performance.

How to work your way up a company

How to work your way up a company

It’s hard to overstate the impact of staffing your organization with the most effective leaders. Studies of managers and companies consistently show that effective leadership improves both internal metrics, like employee retention, and external ones, like financial performance.

Our research on “ For All ” leaders (as laid out in our book), who intentionally build trust regardless of who a person is or what they do for the business, demonstrates that the most effective leaders focus on:

  • Working with teams, seeking ideas from team members and involving them in decisions that affect them .
  • Recognizing employees, especially by calling out accomplishments and helping employees get ahead in their careers.
  • Inspiring employees to follow by showing them that leaders are competent, honest and reliable.

So how do you cultivate leaders like this at your company?

1. Identify the most important behaviors for great managers at your organization

While certain characteristics of manager effectiveness apply across most companies, true insights come from identifying the unique behaviors that best align with your organization’s mission, culture, customer needs and strategic goals.

First, identify the managers inside your organization who build high-trust relationships. Employee survey data is a source of truth here .

Interview these managers and ask them “how” they did what they did. Use this information to identify three to five behaviors that create a great work environment and share them across your organization.

2. Build trust

Employees follow their leaders when they trust in them. They trust managers because they believe them to be competent, honest and reliable.

You can instill trust for your leadership in three ways:

  • Create credibility: Do what you say you are going to do. If you promise your employee a project or learning opportunity, follow through on your word.
  • Be respectful: Ensuring your people are set up for success. Arm them with the resources and support they need to do their best work.
  • Make fair decisions: This is fundamental for building trust in your management effectiveness, especially when it comes to promotion decisions and for people who are different than you (whether gender, racial background or tenure).

3. Be a true collaborator

Work with your team to co-create plans and concoct new ideas.

This doesn’t mean reaching consensus or decision-making by committee. We’re talking about real involvement and collaboration.

Improve collaboration by:

  • Involving your team in decisions that affect them. Get their feedback before decisions are made, for example, moving to new office space and address any concerns they have about the change.
  • Seeking employees’ opinions on the next problem you’re trying to solve.
  • Having regular one-to-ones and informal conversations, such as staffroom lunches and coffees away from the office.

These effective management behaviors will make your employees feel included, valued and in turn, inspired to do their best work.

4. Make employee recognition your ritual

Employee recognition shows employees their contributions are recognized and appreciated. A study of employee engagement by O.C. Tanner showed that personal recognition is the number one driver of employee performance — more than pay, promotions, inspiring work, training or autonomy.

Leaders can make recognition part of their manager ritual by:

  • Having recognition “triggers” – for example, tangible goals with upfront guidance to managers on how to communicate the goals and track them.
  • Making it easy for managers to celebrate employees. For example, Hotel chain Hilton gives managers an annual “Recognition Calendar” with easy-to-implement ideas to thank employees every day of the year.

5. Rethink how you promote your people

If managing a larger team is the only way to a promotion at your company, you may want to rethink your promotion process. Some people may be more valuable to the organization as an individual contributor or a part of a team.

Smart companies (and effective managers) create multiple avenues to success for employees. They:

  • Help people earn new responsibilities and develop their skills through new projects, lateral moves and stretch assignments.
  • Take an active role in employees’ development plans.
  • Keep an eye out for additional ways employees can add value to a project or lend their expertise to something outside of their general scope of responsibilities.

6. Flip the traditional performance process

It’s common for managers to rate and review their employees, but great managers want feedback to flow both ways. They make sure their employee surveys not only look at organizational culture as a whole, but management effectiveness, too.

At Certified™ companies, all employees rate management on all five of the above behaviors in their Trust Index Survey.

Employees reflect on management’s behavior, whether management shows a sincere interest in them as a person, not just an employee, and how much management ’s actions match its words. This authentic feedback gives a nuanced picture of management effectiveness.

Help employees become influential people managers

Want to support your people managers in realizing their full potential? Our culture management platform and employee survey gives managers access to their own people data. Managers can get a nuanced understanding of how effectively they are managing their team.

Using data-driven insights, start understanding and improving your management effectiveness today – ask us how Great Place to Work can help.

How to work your way up a company

Julian Lute has more than 15 years of experience as an innovative operational leader and global trusted advisor and knows what it takes to inspire and lead high-performance teams. Working with top leaders from Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®, Julian helps connect the dots between superior business performance and a best-in-class employee experience. He is trusted by a diverse set of clients such as, AT&T, McDonald’s, Dow, 3M, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Live Nation Entertainment, and Alaska Airlines.

How to work your way up a company How to work your way up a company

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There are different ways to protect original ideas. The method you choose depends on the kind of idea you have.

by Michelle Kaminsky, Esq.
updated May 02, 2022 · 4 min read

You’re ready to unleash your blockbuster idea. You’re convinced it will fund your retirement handsomely, and even your muse will get a cut. How can you make sure nobody steals your richly-deserved rewards?

It all depends on your idea which is also called “Intellectual property,” (IP). IP includes almost any kind of original creation—a novel, a logo, a song, or a new process for developing film.

How to work your way up a company

Which Kind of Protection Does Your Idea Need?

  • Copyrights cover tangible artistic, musical, and literary works, such as paintings, lyrics, books, photographs, etc.
  • Trademarks apply to words, names, or symbols intended to identify and distinguish goods or services of one manufacturer from another.
  • Patents protect inventors’ rights to their inventions; inventions which can vary from machines to chemical compounds and even plants.

About Copyrights

Once accomplished, you alone have the sole right to produce and reproduce your work.

The registration process differs according to the type of material produced, but always involves sending a copy of your work and a processing fee.

About Trademarks

With registration, the public is on notice that you own the mark. The law presumes it is yours and you gain the exclusive right to use the registered mark on the goods or services identified in the application, meaning that others cannot use a confusingly similar mark.

Approval of a trademark (which includes a renewable 10-year term of validity) can take months or even years.

About Patents

According to statute, any person who “invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent” from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Obtaining a patent can be slow and costly, taking up to 2 years and costing in the six figure range.

Provisional Patents

For “utility” inventions, there is an alternative initial protection: a Provisional Patent. This application has few requirements, making it faster and easier to file, while providing a priority filing date and a “patent pending”status for 12 months.

During this time, you can more freely discuss your invention, test its potential and seek funding while deciding whether to commit more time and money toward the patent.

You also preserve the right to patent your invention should anyone else try after you.

Be aware, however, that a provisional application lasts for 12 months during which you will need to file the non-provisional application to complete your patent filing process. The Patent Office does not grant extensions.

While it may take years until your patent is granted, protection attaches upon filing the application. Accordingly, file as soon as possible.

With a patent, which lasts for 20 years, you have “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” your invention in the U.S. or “importing” the invention into the country.

The Trade Secrets Law

If your idea doesn’t qualify for a patent, you can still seek protection under the trade secrets law if it’s a secret and provides a competitive advantage.

What Happens if Someone Steals Your Idea?

To guard against disputes over authorship or inventorship, you should keep early drafts of your work and detailed records of the development of your ideas, including anyone you’ve shared it with along the way.

As you can see, registering your blockbuster idea with the appropriate governmental agency can help ensure that it remains your property—and that your all-important muse is kept happy.