Street Talk: Underutilized? You are not alone


A local staffing firm polled readers on its blog and found almost half feel their skills are “underutilized” at work.

Express Employment Professionals’ Refresh Leadership, a workplace-focused blog, wrote an article last month titled, “The Results Are In: 48% of Workers Believe their Skills Are Underutilized.”

It revealed the results of a survey it conducted in October.

The feelings of frustration mentioned manifested in several ways when readers used the survey’s “other” short-answer response field.

According to Jared Brox, a Refresh Leadership author, dissatisfaction is common when those set on “climbing the corporate ladder” hit barriers or lag behind their peers or their own ambitions.

In the October survey, 48 percent of respondents described themselves as “underemployed.”

Another 41 percent believed their job “fits their skill level and experience.”

Seven percent said they are “overemployed,” or in positions that require skills they don’t possess.

Three percent of respondents chose the “other” option and submitted thoughts on the question, including, according to Refresh Leadership:

  • My job fits my skill level, but I’m underpaid.
  • The job fits, but I have too much work.
  • I’m a little overemployed but am increasing my skill level and experience to match.

Brox wrote an article in March that offered tips on how to re-engage in your job if advancement isn’t an option or if things aren’t going as hoped.

Among his suggestions:

Redefine your current role, including volunteering for projects outside of your job description that you are passionate about, reaching out to work with teams in the company other than yours, joining the office party-planning committee, etc.

Embark on a new career path, which could mean changing jobs within your industry or choosing an altogether new industry.

Invest in education, for cases in which promotions are out of reach because you lack the skills to advance.

Got it? And … go!

Job interview

A community forum is scheduled for mid-January where Kent County residents can meet with and provide feedback on the two candidates selected for the position of county administrator/controller.

The role of administrator/controller is to implement board policies, oversee the daily activities of the county, serve as the chief administrative and financial officer and supervise functions that report to the Kent County Board of Commissioners.

The Administrator/Controller Recruitment (ACR) Subcommittee finalized the remaining steps in the recruitment process and identified two candidates who have been invited for interviews.

The two candidates are Wyman Britt of Grand Rapids and Marc Ryan of Land O’ Lakes, Florida.

Britt currently is the interim administrator/controller for Kent County and former performance management consultant and senior employee relations manager for Steelcase Inc.

Ryan is the chief strategy and compliance officer at Medical House of Knowledge (MedHOK) in Tampa, Florida, and former state of Connecticut secretary of the office of policy and management/state budget director.

The community forum will be held from 5-7:30 p.m., Jan. 10, in the multipurpose room at the Human Services Complex, 121 Franklin St. SE, Grand Rapids. This will provide an opportunity for the public to provide feedback regarding the candidates.

ACR Subcommittee Chair Sandi Steensma encouraged county residents to come and participate in the forum.

“The community’s input in the process is critical to making the right decision for such an important leadership role,” she said. “We hope residents will make their voices heard as we complete this process.”

Finalist candidate interviews with the full county board are scheduled for 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Jan. 11. These interviews also are open to the public. ACR Subcommittee members will review commissioner feedback and identify the top candidate to recommend to the full commission after the final interviews.

Chart topper

Among the likes of Jay-Z, Kelly Clarkson, Little Big Town, Selena Gomez and Kendrick Lamar, Grand Valley State University’s New Music Ensemble has been included in NPR’s list of the Top 100 Songs of 2017.

The ensemble was recognized for its song “Glass Surface” from the album Return, which debuted in October.

Return, comprised of 15 pieces composed by three alumni, is the ensemble’s fourth commercial album. The composers include Adam Cuthbért, ’10, Matthew Fiinch, ’15 and Daniel Rhodé, ’12. Rhodé composed “Glass Surface.”

"I am thrilled for everyone involved to have our work recognized at the national level," said Bill Ryan, the ensemble’s director.

On the NPR list, Tom Huizenga, a music producer, reporter and blogger for NPR Music, praised “Glass Surface” for its blend of traditional instrumentation and electronic “tailoring.”

Ryan described the 15 tracks on Return as a “lush and explorative marriage of electronic and acoustic sounds and gestures.” The album was released on the Innova label, and the album was mastered by Grammy Award-winner Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound, whose other clients include Lady Gaga, Adele and Katy Perry.

The album is available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon.

The New Music Ensemble promotes contemporary classical chamber music, with a special focus on music of the past 20 years, through commissions, tours, recordings, educational events, workshops and videos.

Since the ensemble formed in 2006, the group's three other critically acclaimed albums have appeared on best release lists by The New York Times, Washington Post, LA Weekly and Time Out Chicago. Some of the ensemble’s recordings also have appeared in film, on MTV television programs, Showtime and at more than 75 film festivals around the world.

House calls

MedNow, Spectrum Health’s telemedicine service, launched its MedNow app for consumers.

The app gives consumers access to health care providers directly from their smart device, allowing them to schedule and conduct a video visit all in one place.

The MedNow app was designed and implemented with a focus on consumer engagement and ownership of the virtual experience. At the start of the visit, a medical assistant will greet the user, gather medical information and provide any necessary technical support. In doing so, MedNow “combines the latest technology with a human touch.”

“Consumers have been asking for more and better digital engagement. The MedNow app is in response to those demands,” said Tina Freese Decker, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Spectrum Health. “Not only will the MedNow app save patients time, it also makes us more effective in delivering care when and where it is needed most.”

Since MedNow began in 2014, nearly 20,000 people have used the service for a low-acuity condition such as a rash, sinus problem or flu.

The app is available for patients throughout Michigan.

“We wanted to build a dedicated app from the beginning, but first we needed input from our consumers,” said Joseph Brennan, senior director for MedNow. “We took that feedback and used it to improve upon the MedNow experience.”

The app is available for iPhone and Android devices.

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