Professional Online Learning Opportunities

By Christine Olsen, MBA, Career Coach and Program Manager

How many times have we heard from our clients that they wish they had more time to brush up on skills or learn new topics or software applications relevant to their profession? Answer: too often.

Whatever their job status, they can make good use of their time at home learning to improve both soft and hard skills at no cost!
In addition to the popular LinkedIn Learning (was which is offered to paying LinkedIn members, or free for the first 30 days of use, there are many other education options for those who want to enhance the basic academics (math, writing), or industry-specific related skills and knowledge, (SQL, Salesforce, project management, communication). Below are some recommended sites for you to explore. Let’s make social distancing productive by readying for career next steps!

Code Academy Dedicated specifically to teaching coding – how to write the code necessary to develop interactive websites using the most useful languages – HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Python, Ruby, and PHP – and does it within the browser using interactive tools featuring a centralized dashboard where you can monitor your progress, plus organizes lessons into complete modules. This lets you learn an entire language without needing to pick the next course manually.

Open Culture Find hundreds of university courses without having to visit and search for each university’s own site. This is a very helpful resource with easy to browse categories for finding many courses in one area of study. Try Open Culture’s 1000 lectures, videos, and podcasts from universities around the world.

Coursera is one of the leading providers of massive open online courses (MOOCs) – it is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world to bring a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database giving the site an extremely wide range of in-depth courses – some provide certificates of completion to recognize that you passed the class. This is a great place to enjoy learning in a structured classroom-style environment from home.

Kahn Academy is partnering with many post-secondary schools and curating many courses from around the web offering useable and impressive depth on many different subjects. The lectures are short and share a handful of information at a time but build on each other as you progress.

Udemy is a site that mixes free and paid course content – similar in concept to Coursera – but additionally allows users to build custom courses from lessons.

edX primarily focused on courses in math, the sciences, and engineering edX is a great option for free online education offering fully online courses from many different schools with teachers, discussion boards and quizzes primarily focused on courses in math, the sciences, and engineering.

MIT Open Courseware MIT Open Courseware is a treasure trove of the course material if you’re looking to learn more about science, computer and engineering topics. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT is among the top universities for those subjects.

Stanford Online
Stanford Online offers self-paced and session-based courses. Some courses require iTunes, but most are completed in your web browser. Stanford Online is a great site for world-class courses, though the topics are somewhat limited.

Sites offering free online courses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which may be helpful to you and your family members!

Alison Explore resources from top universities

Academic Earth Get started with some coursework

Class Central Discover free online courses

COVID-19 Survival Guide: Self-Quarantine

Ann Stromberg

Ann Stromberg, Emotional Wellness Counselor

COVID-19 Self-Quarantine day # 857

It sure feels like we have been in quarantine for an eternity, but all joking aside this is a real test of our coping abilities. As our days run together, it becomes harder to know what day of the week it is! The longer we are quarantined, along with the daily changes to the “rules” of social distancing, the harder it is to feel positive that there is an end in sight. It is important now to continue to take care of ourselves and to find joy and happiness in each day. Keeping a schedule and remaining focused may feel more difficult, especially if your workload is decreasing. If that’s the case, create an opportunity to learn or do something new.

Our brain loves to learn; learning and doing new things are for the brain like exercise is for the physical body. Stimulating the brain is a great way to improve our brain health. It doesn’t matter what we learn or do, just by changing our routine we can stimulate brain activity. Simple things like changing where you sit at the dinner table or eating with your non-dominant hand can stimulate brain growth. If you are living with a houseful of people, make a game of it and have each person chose something to do that is different each day. Use the Internet! There are many opportunities for learning anything that piques your interest. These days at home may provide opportunities to have fun, be creative, or just expand your knowledge.

This week presents additional challenges as we enter Passover and Easter week. These holy days present challenges to the faithful all over the world as social distancing has forced most worship communities to close. Regardless of your tradition, it is likely this year it will be observed differently. Take time to find online options for community worship. Take time to connect with family by phone or set up a virtual celebration. Knowing this year’s observance will be different, identify the most important aspects and determine the best way for you to honor that tradition. Create a new normal this year and have fun! You may find that there are new ideas that you choose to keep when we all get back together.

Make this week the week you try something new, continue to spend time outside, and move your body. As this quarantine continues, staying productive at work may not be easy to do. Remember to do what you can, take breaks, find the thing to be grateful for, and practice kindness to yourself and others! Smile! Smiling improves our mood instantly! Being patient and kind is really needed now more than ever.

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.

          Thich Nhat Hanh

Onward Israel 2020- Canceled

Dear Onward Israel Students and Parents:

Our thoughts and our prayers go out to the many people in our community and around the world who have been or may be directly impacted by COVID-19. We wish them a refuah shlemah, a full and speedy recovery.

After careful consideration, this year’s Onward Israel Internship program has been canceled. JVS Career Services, The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati and The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati fully support Onward Israel’s decision following increased concerns and travel limitations regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The health, wellness, and safety of our students remain our highest priority. We know it is the right decision.

Students accepted for this year’s canceled program will have priority placement for Onward Israel 2021. Also, the Cincy Journeys grants will remain available thanks to the commitment of The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati. More information will be communicated as grant guidelines are being established. 

Onward Israel will be contacting you on or about April 21st with the official cancellation notice. They may also communicate other potential programs and internship options including a remote internship called, Onward Israel Remote, as well as, a one-month fellowship option in Israel this July. If you have an interest, we encourage you to visit their website for additional information ( Please note, Cincy Journeys grants may not be available for these options.

Also, the deposit checks we have received will be shredded unless you would like us to send them back to you. Please email Rosa Ziegler at with alternative instructions. 

We want each of you to know that we are here to help you with your summer employment options. Currently, Camp Livingston (overnight camp in Bennington, IN) and Camp at the J (day camp at The Mayerson JCC) have summer jobs available. Camp Livingston is currently hiring Senior Staff and Counselor positions. They can also customize an internship for majors requiring a specific internship for graduation. If you are interested, email Abby Solomon, Assistant Camp Director ( For Camp at the J positions, visit for more information.     

We thank everyone for their continued support and look forward to offering you Onward 2021 next year. JVS Career Services is committed to helping students find internships and jobs, so if you have any questions or would like more information don’t hesitate to contact us here

COVID-19 Survival Guide: How to Stay Happy, Healthy and Sane While Sheltering in Place

Ann Stromberg, Emotional Wellness Counselor

In this unprecedented time that we find ourselves in, the challenges are great and our ability to cope is compromised. We want to provide some ideas to help guide us through these next few weeks knowing it can’t last forever.

No one asked for or could have prepared for this current health crisis. One thing we know for sure is that we can’t do anything to change the situation, but we can work to accept that. There is a peace in accepting and not resisting a situation. Accepting something does not mean we have to like it or be happy about it. Acceptance gives up permission to stop using our positive energy to resist or be unhappy. Of course, this sounds like an easy solution but it requires effort.

Our brains are built for survival. We all learned about the stress response and the nervous system’s “fight or flight” response. Our brain signals the body to react to danger before we are conscious of the fact there is danger. This unconscious signal is the stress response. All of the constant updates, sheltering in place, and social isolation creates a continuous alarm to our normal state of being. This stress response is what wears us down, shifts our mood, and creates anxiety.

Freedom comes when we give up the need to control the situation and accept reality. We are able to bring our focus to the present moment, the only moment we are able to control. Then we can channel our positive energy into more productive, creative, or enjoyable moment. Keeping our focus in the here and now is difficult to do now because we are bombarded with news, media, and updates on the COVID-19. If you have been constantly monitoring the news, try and take some time away from the media coverage.

If you find it hard to get started or to stay focused during the day, create a schedule. You should make a schedule that incorporates all of the parts of your life at home. If you are working, create time and space for work. Set up a place to work so you can focus and avoid distractions. Be sure to schedule time for exercise, cooking, caretaking, or homeschooling, if you have children at home too. Most importantly, take time to do something that brings you joy each day. We need to find some joy and happiness every day!

Take time each day to get outside, especially as we turn the corner to spring sunshine and warmer temperatures. Spending time outdoors is an instant mood booster! Spend time appreciating the beauty that surrounds us outdoors. Feel gratitude for the beauty in nature, marvel at the mystery of the changing season, and stop to notice the small changes where you live. Take a walk around the neighborhood or find a park. You won’t feel isolated because so many people are doing the same. Remember practicing social distancing is important, but smiling and saying hello to others also improves your mood.

Self-care is important during this period of self -isolation. Try to keep your daily routine as consistent as possible. Go to bed and get up at about the same time each day. Exercise is essential to our physical and mental health. Go outside and move or choose an exercise video or app to follow. There are many fitness professionals and gyms that are posting daily workouts for people to follow. Get dressed every day, there are many memes going around about changing from day pajamas to night pajamas that are funny but getting dressed makes you feel more productive. Try and make healthy choices for meals and snacks, all the comforting goodies we love will add up over time and that can impact our mood too.

Being mindful of our daily choices is important too. Pay attention to our daily habits, what we eat, and how we move through the day matters. Be mindful of new habits you may develop and check in with ourselves.

Always keep in mind, when we are faced with these challenging situations, be ready to give yourself permission to “fail.” We will all have days when we feel energized and days when we can’t get going. Regardless of our dedication to stay on our schedule, we will have unproductive days. When we have a day of binging TV or whatever our distraction may be, accept it and move on. Kindness toward ourselves and others will help us all accept and survive this through time.

JVS Career Services Hilb Scholarship Program

“The Hilb Scholarship is an amazing opportunity; my only wish is that I had applied for it sooner,” said Eli, a senior at the University of Cincinnati. “It’s really helped me focus on my schoolwork, instead of worrying about how to pay for classes.”

Since 1955, The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati Hilb Scholarship has been providing need-based financial assistance to students in the Cincinnati Jewish community.

“The Hilb Scholarship Fund is committed to making funds available for students who want to further their education after high school and adults who want additional education and training,” said JVS Career Services CEO, Joni Burton.

Gus Hilb established the Hilb Scholarship Fund at the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati in 1955 in honor of his parents, Mannis and Yetta Hilb, and since its inception, it has been administered by JVS Career Services.

“College was something that I was kind of worried about how to pay for,” shared Ashley Schlaeger who is in her third year at The Ohio State University. “I knew my parents would help me a little bit, but having the scholarship going into college really helped me financially. It’s also helped me to keep my grades up because one of the requirements is that you have a GPA of 3.0 or above.”

99 Hilb scholarships totaling more than $225,000 were awarded for the 2019-2020 academic year.

“I love watching the students succeed, and getting to know each of them individually,” said Kasey Rouse, Scholarship Coordinator at JVS Career Services. “I love that I have the chance to make a difference in so many lives.”

The Hilb Scholarship isn’t the only opportunity available to students. Additional funds include the Anne and George Heldman Family Scholarship Fund, the Saidel Award, the Guthman Award, the Graff Award, and the Weiss Award, which are available to subsections of the scholarship applicant pool.

Students interested in applying for any of the scholarships administered by JVS Career Services should keep the deadline to submit the application in mind:

May 1, 2020                       Last day to submit an application for the 2020-2021 academic year and make an appointment for an interview with the scholarship administrator

Scholarship assistance is just one of the many services that JVS Career Services offers to students. The agency also works with students on career coaching, resume writing, networking, and interviewing skills.  As students approach the end of their schooling, JVS Career Services helps students find internships or jobs after graduation.

You can learn more about the Hilb Scholarship by clicking the button below.

Click Here to Learn More

Why Hiring and Retaining Older Workers Works

Peter Landesman, Senior Business Development Manager, JVS Career Services

In today’s job market, there are nearly one million more job openings than there are unemployed workers, which leaves employers struggling to find and hire workers.

But there may be a simple solution—hiring or retaining older workers. According to AARP, workers 55 or older comprise nearly 25% of the workforce, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says there will be more than 54 million workers over the age of 55 by the year 2024.

An AARP study found 12% of older workers believe they were passed for advancement due to their age. While two-thirds report having seen or experienced age discrimination on the job. 25% said they had heard negative, age-related remarks voiced by a colleague or supervisor.

Ageism was made illegal by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. It protects workers over the age of 40 from age-based discrimination. Ageism cases may be difficult to prove, but employers found to be noncompliant can face multi-million-dollar fines. From 2010-2018, employers paid $810.4 million, not including litigation costs, to settle age discrimination charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Here are just a few of the reasons companies would do well to hire or retain older workers:

  • Most employers are protective of their brand image and want to be thought of as an “employer of choice,” but ageism can negatively impact that brand. A candidate or former employee who feels they have experienced ageism can create negative comments towards a company, be it through word-of-mouth or social media. A company’s brand subsequently suffers and, ultimately, the impact is felt where it hurts the most: a company’s bottom line.
  • Older workers have years of experience and knowledge that a company can put to good use. No matter if it’s their professional network or their knowledge of the company, older employees are often great mentors to younger workers. Companies could lose out on a lot of soft skills by letting those older workers go.
  • Older workers are likely to stay with a company longer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median tenure for workers aged 25 to 34 is approximately three years, while the median tenure for employees aged 65 and over is approximately ten years. Turnover is a major expense for companies, with one study finding that it costs about $15,000 to replace a worker earning $45,000 a year.

Today’s workforce now encompasses at least four generations of Americans, and study after study has shown that employers who value a diverse and inclusive workplace and truly put it into practice, are more profitable than those that don’t.

Does your organization need additional resources that will help it acquire valuable talent to move your business forward? One great option is to outsource talent acquisition to a professional recruiting agency. At JVS Career Services, our experienced recruiters work full-time to fill your open positions, providing your overworked HR staff with the time they need to become fully engaged business partners.

JVS Career Services can be an extension of your talent acquisition organization. Whether it’s for entry-level positions or high-level executives, JVS Career Services is a trusted partner to help you source the best, most qualified talent. As a nonprofit organization, JVS Career Services can offer recruiting services at far below market rates, while never sacrificing the quality of service that is provided.

To learn more, visit JVS Careers Services at or call (513) 936-9675.

JVS Career Services Helps Recent Graduate Gain Her Confidence


“It’s hard to move back in with your parents, in your hometown, after living on your own for years. It caused her to lose a lot of her confidence,” said Dr. Lori Glaser-Zakem about her daughter Rachel. After finishing her master’s degree, Rachel had to move back home while she looked to start her career.

According to Lori, Rachel had been applying for jobs and going to interviews, but just couldn’t seem to gain any traction. “She was down on herself. She’s a very independent spirit, so living with us, and the struggle to find a job… Her dad and I just knew we had to do something for her.” However, beyond helping Rachel improve her resume, Lori and her husband were unsure of how else they could help—given how much had changed since they were younger. “Everything is just so different now,” Lori said, “you apply to jobs online; you have to know how to ‘search’ for jobs. It’s a whole different world.”

One day, Lori remembered something her friends had said about JVS Career Services. Recalling how positive their experiences had been with the organization, Lori decided that reaching out to them might be the perfect next-step for Rachel. “What I really needed was someone to help direct her and give her some objective input. After all, I’m only Mom,” Lori insisted. “But we had to twist Rachel’s arm a little because she is so independent. She wanted to do it on her own, and she didn’t want us spending the money on her. We finally convinced her. We said, ‘Look. This is our gift.’ And looking back, I have to say it was worth every penny,” she affirmed.

As part of the Career Services Package Lori purchased, Rachel was connected with Christine Olsen, one of the career coaches at JVS Career Services. The two worked hard to sharpen Rachel’s resume even more. Christine also taught Rachel interviewing techniques, and how to develop a networking mindset.

“They really went above and beyond,” remarked Lori. “I didn’t get to see the actual coaching sessions, but Rachel would come home and she was absolutely more upbeat and positive. She felt more confident in herself, and that she and her skills were marketable. Christine really helped Rachel see the positives she could bring to a company,” Lori said.

All of the hard work finally paid off. Rachel was offered a full-time job as a Transit Planning Specialist at the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC) in Bend, Oregon. “We didn’t know Bend existed until she got this job,” Lori laughed, “but she loves it there. She loves what she’s doing! She’s actually in the field that she studied, so this has been such a great fit for her!”

Rachel started with the COIC in September of 2018. Recently, on the one-year anniversary of her employment, she posted the following thoughts on her Facebook page: “Today marks one year of living in Bend. It also happens to be the happiest year of my adult life. Thanks to all of the wonderful people who helped make it such a great year and an incredible place to call home!”

Not only is Rachel’s job a perfect fit for her skills and experience, but the quality-of-life she gets in Bend is outstanding. As Lori put it, “she’s a 15-minute drive to any number of hiking trails or rivers or lakes. When she’s not at work, she’s always out exploring nature or the community. Rachel is just so thankful to JVS Career Services because they pointed her in this direction. I have to say, as a parent, this was the best gift I have ever given.”

Rachel’s new life in Bend has provided other positives for Lori and her husband. “No one knows of Bend,” said Lori, “and the real-estate prices are unbelievable. But they are starting to go up, and they are projected to keep going up. So, we actually purchased a retirement home in Bend, and we are currently renting it out to Rachel and a few of her friends—one of whom lived here in Cincinnati and just moved out there to be with Rachel.”

In recent months, Lori’s son was also looking for a new job—a search that eventually centered on the Washington, DC area. Since he knew what a difference JVS Career Services had made in his sister’s life, he thought the organization might be just as helpful for him. “But as fate would have it,” Lori smiled, “the day he was going to call JVS Career Services, he was offered a job. But he knew about Rachel’s experience, and how happy she was.”

At the time JVS Career Services helped Rachel secure her job, Lori made a generous donation to the organization. And, when the milestone of her daughter’s first full year of employment was reached, Lori made another donation. In thinking back over all of her positive experiences, Lori had clearly developed a thankful heart: “I am just so very grateful to JVS Career Services. I really would do anything for them; they’ve had that big of an impact on our lives. The donations were in appreciation of the work that was done, and the help that was given. I want other people to be able to have this kind of experience. It truly is a wonderful service and it can change someone’s life.”

To learn more about JVS Career Services’ career coaching, contact us, email, or call (513) 936-9675

Positive Candidate Experiences Are Good for Your Bottom Line

Peter Landesman, Senior Business Development Manager, JVS Career Services

The talent acquisition process can be difficult for employers, but it can be downright brutal for candidates. We’ve probably all heard variations of horror stories like these:

  • A candidate shows up for a scheduled interview and the interviewers (recruiters and/or hiring managers) are late or don’t ever show up.
  • A candidate agrees to come into the company’s offices for five or six interviews, but they are scheduled across five or six different days.
  • A candidate must spend 30-45 minutes filling out overly detailed forms or inputting information into the applicant tracking database.
  • A candidate gets “ghosted” by employers and never receives any communications about their status.

Recent data suggests that employers who engage in such practices are doing themselves a grave disservice. The most apparent risk companies face is that qualified, talented candidates will accept offers from other employers, including the competition.

The good news is—the opposite can be true for positive candidate experiences.

Before going further, it is important to know that candidates outnumber new hires by a ratio that is roughly 100:1. Since it’s not uncommon for larger employers to fill 1,000 slots annually, based on this industry average this would mean that their total candidates could exceed 100,000. That is 100,000 people who will likely remember the good, the bad, and the ugly of their talent acquisition experience.

Consider these potential candidate experience outcomes:

Positive Candidate Experience Poor Candidate Experience
Loyalty: Candidates who feel their experience was positive are much more likely to purchase the products and services of that company. And, they will likely refer others to apply for future openings.


A prominent multinational corporation believes that rejected candidates are actually a key customer base. By treating these candidates with dignity, and by offering them coupons and discounts, the corporation was able to create a new revenue stream that reached $300 million.


Resentment: Candidates who feel their experience was negative are much less likely to purchase a company’s products and services. Furthermore, they could engage in a campaign of destruction, via reviews intended to damage a company or brand (i.e. like those nasty, negative reviews on Yelp).


This is especially true for business-to-consumer companies that compete in the retail, hospitality, and travel sectors—where viral negativity can result in millions of dollars of lost annual revenue.

Talented Candidates Refer Other Talented Candidates: A candidate’s positive experience greatly increases the opportunity for more and better referrals in the future.


Employers with the ability to acquire quality talent to fill open positions are well-positioned to grow their businesses and acquire even more customers.

Talented Candidates Steer Clear: A candidate’s negative experience greatly diminishes the opportunity for quality referrals in the future. Candidates will warn their friends and professional networks to avoid any employment opportunities at the company they’ve blacklisted.


With over one million more openings than there are candidates to fill them, there is a war for talent. Therefore, companies that cannot attract quality candidates are putting their growth plans in serious jeopardy.



Here are some ways to ensure a positive candidate experience:

  1. Simplify the candidate application process

Many employers believe that lengthy applications will somehow weed out candidates who are less committed, but this is not true. A CareerBuilder study found that 60% of job seekers get frustrated with long and complex online job applications, and simply abandon these types of applications.

Other studies indicate that for every additional line on a job application, the probability of applicants completing the form decreases by 30%.

Candidates value their time, and with so many other positions open and available to them, they tend to be attracted to companies that make the application process quick and easy.

From time-to-time, employers should try to fill out their own online application form. This gives employers a better sense of how time-consuming and difficult (or simple and easy) it is to complete.

  1. Communicate and keep on communicating:

Candidates deserve to know where they stand when they apply for a job. Employers that consistently communicate with applicants are much more likely to achieve a positive candidate experience. Here’s how to do it:

  • Acknowledge a candidate’s application. Let candidates know as soon as possible if they will or won’t be considered for a role.
  • Set clear expectations and timelines. The interviewing process can occasionally get drawn out. If you let candidates know this upfront, it will help keep them engaged.
  • Regularly call or email candidates with status updates. This accomplishes two things: First, candidates will appreciate the effort. Second, it’s a great way to find out if candidates are still interested or not. For example, they might have accepted a competing offer.
  • Don’t delay conveying bad news. Let candidates know if they are not going to receive an offer. If possible, follow the example of the multinational corporation and send coupons or discounts to help them feel good about their experience.

Today’s job market is highly competitive and companies cannot afford to lose out on quality talent due to subpar candidate experiences. Successful employers who adopt best-practices for their talent acquisition strategies will not only be able to hire the best talent, they will also grow their businesses as a result.

For more information about how JVS Career Services can help your company with its hiring process, please contact Peter Landesman, Senior Business Development Manager, at (513) 745-2905, or

More Than Money: How the Hilb Scholarship Provided Eli Support

“JVS Career Services really cares about me and my education, and they make me feel super supported. I really don’t know where my support system and help would have come from if JVS Career Services didn’t exist,” said Eli, a University of Cincinnati senior.

He said thanks to the Hilb Scholarship he was able to focus on his classes, instead of worrying about working and how to make ends meet.

Being part of the Jewish community is very important to the Cincinnati native. When he was in sixth grade, his father passed and the community has always been there to help support him.

It was a late morning during the week, and most students were in class or at work. Entering the sanctuary at Cincinnati Hillel, even though it was empty, felt like an intrusion. While standing there flipping light switches, trying to find one that brought on the overhead lights, a quiet voice, Eli, said, “I think it’s this one.” Sure enough, it was that one.

As Eli sat down for the interview he began to explain his education, his aspirations. Eli is studying neuroscience, “I just love it,” he said. “I love genetics and psychology, so being able to find a field that lets me combine my two passions is really cool.” When asked about what drove him to this difficult degree, he shrugged and with a shy smile said, “I always knew I wanted to succeed.”

But success wasn’t always a given for Eli. After his father died, “that’s when I became pretty independent in regards to my finances. Paying for school, paying for housing. It’s all very difficult, but even more so when you’re doing it on your own.”

Many would likely have given up, but not Eli. “I was in gifted classes when I was a kid; AP classes in high school, and as I got older I kept myself motivated by telling myself that I can do this.”

After high school, but before college, Eli visited Israel for a year. He says he was able to pay for the trip entirely though scholarships and financial assistance.

When he started at UC, he wasn’t entirely sure how he was going to pay for it. Then halfway through his freshman year, his mother suggested he apply for the JVS Career Services Hilb Scholarship. “She told me this was a very good opportunity for me, and it would help me get some money for college. I finally applied and was accepted – I’ve been accepted now for three years. I only wish I had applied earlier, when I was a senior in high school, because they have helped me so much.”

Eli will be wrapping up his degree this spring, and plans to become a genetic counselor, which requires a master’s degree. But before he starts on that program, he plans on taking a gap year to teach English in a foreign country or work for a national Jewish organization.

When asked what his life would be like without JVS Career Services, Eli thought for a moment, shrugged, sighed and said, “I’d be crumpled. I’d be in tens-of-thousands of dollars of debt. I would be paying that money for decades.”

Eli said he hopes to one day be able to give back to JVS Career Services, “they’ve done so much for me. I feel like I should also help them, so they can help support other kids like me in the future.”

He stood up, swinging a messenger bag over his shoulder he headed out to his next class. On the way out, he pointed out which switch was the one to turn off the overheads. Sitting in the darkened sanctuary, you couldn’t help but be amazed at how bright Eli’s future is.

How Motivated Are Your Employees?

By Brie Juran, Career Coach, and Program Manager

There are many key factors that contribute to creating and maintaining a successful business. Without focusing on finances, strategy, or operations, it would be impossible to keep your company afloat. But while these areas of a business are essential, they are all impacted by one element that is just as fundamental: your employees. Having a staff that is energized, invested, and compelled to reach goals, and ultimately play a part in the company’s success, can truly make a difference to your bottom line.

Employee motivation is the willingness one has to bring energy, commitment, and innovation to work each day. Employees may have the right skill set, and abilities to manage their responsibilities, but without any driving force, those skills will not translate. This can become problematic because, without motivation, there is a lack of engagement. This, in turn, can lead to a decline in productivity, efficiency, and ultimately profits. Workers who are not connected may contribute negatively to office culture, and are less likely to remain at the company, resulting in the harmful consequence of high turnover.

In order for your company to remain competitive by attracting top talent, implementing strategies to promote employee satisfaction is fundamental. Below are five basic approaches that can aid your company in helping your employees stay motivated:

  • Communication: Make sure to communicate with your employees often, as well as in-person. Taking the time to have simple but meaningful face-to-face interactions can have a big effect on making an employee feel valued.
  • Lead By Example: It is important to exhibit the behaviors that you expect of your employees. Having a positive attitude, and showing excitement and enthusiasm about the work you are doing, can be contagious to those you work with.
  • Empower: In order to facilitate employee engagement, foster an environment in which their ideas and input are valued. Creating space for their ideas to be heard is helpful, but actually implementing their suggestions makes a powerful difference in their attitudes. Allowing a certain amount of autonomy for an employee to dictate how a particular job gets done, without needing prior approval, can help drive their desire to perform at higher levels.
  • Room To Grow: A crucial element of an employee’s sense of satisfaction can be nurtured when they feel like there are legitimate opportunities for advancement and that they are working toward an actual goal. Facilitating the professional development of your staff keeps them motivated to work harder to advance their careers, but also positions your company as a great place to work, because of how it values employees.
  • Incentives: While cash rewards are nice, there are other ways to motivate your employees, such as a paid day off or gift cards. Getting to know your employees and learning what, specifically, matters to them, can help personalize and make such incentives more meaningful.

In ever-increasing numbers, organizations are focusing on company culture to ensure employees are engaged and motivated. It is a job-seekers’ market and if an employee does not feel connected, they have plenty of options to go elsewhere, and will often pursue them. Companies that avoid the pitfalls of low employee engagement will ultimately be the ones that retain top talent and succeed in reaching full potential.