Ascentis Blog

Information to help HR and payroll managers, recruiters, and compliance officers become more effective.

Ascentis Blog - Information to help HR and payroll managers, recruiters, and compliance officers become more effective.

Alexia Vernon: Why Owning Your Accomplishments Might Be Sabotaging Your Success


Guest blog by Alexia Vernon — reprinted with permission.


(Register for Alexia’s upcoming webinar, Step Into Your Moxie: Find Your Message and Speak with Power and Impact, here.)


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An overachieving Millennial who had the moxie to declare at 13 years old, “Class president today, U.S. President in 30 years,” I grew up believing that if I wanted to push through societal, organizational, and my own barriers, it was vital that I own my accomplishments. It was no accident that I amassed close to $100K of scholarship money by the time I was a freshman in college. I was brilliant at communicating a narrative that painted me as an über smart, sassy, and successful emerging leader. So people gave me opportunities. Whether I was applying to be a popcorn girl at a movie theater or a communications associate for a women’s entrepreneurial association, in my early career I always got the job.


When I transitioned full-time into speaking, training, and coaching in my mid-twenties, naturally I thought that as long as I could prove that I was the real deal, I’d grow a successful business. It had always worked before. But for a long time, the opposite was happening. When I touted my past achievements, be it with meeting planners, HR directors, or business owners, I had oodles of prospective work come my way. But I never closed. And, embarrassingly, when I did secure a new opportunity it often didn’t last very long or spawn referrals.


As I’ve discovered through a healthy dose of experience, research, and introspection, owning one’s accomplishments is not a bad thing. It’s an important step to getting an audience with influencers and decision makers in your life. For women especially, it can mean the difference between staying in one’s current role or getting a raise, stretch assignment, significant account, or promotion. According to a recent Stanford study, “In the business world, women who are aggressive, assertive, and confident but who can turn these traits on and off depending on the social circumstances get more promotions than either men or other women.” It’s just important that once you’ve earned your ‘seat at the table,’ you continue to do the following so as not to come off as vain, entitled, or inaccessible…as I had to learn the hard way.


Let yourself be vulnerable. I know, it sounds totally counterproductive to establishing your credibility, doesn’t it? But the truth is people trust people who are confident enough to reveal their struggles, as long as they are framed as part of one’s journey and not as the journey itself. They connect with those whose stories reflect back to them what they have endured and had to surmount. Whether you are being vulnerable with a conference room full of colleagues or a prospective client, the more you can employ your storytelling skills to show how you have turned your garbage into gems, the more you will engender true, sustainable credibility, and buy-in. I’ve gotten far more leverage talking about wearing headgear than I have from sharing how I have built a thriving marriage. People relate to our messes and are often frightened and turned off by our successes.


Ask juicy questions. I haven’t come across too many people in my life who don’t want others to take an interest in them and elicit their ideas, passions, experiences, and so forth. Take the time to get to know the people you communicate with before you get face time with them. Be prepared to ask questions that use what you have learned as a base to pull out the more rich information. Whenever somebody approaches me and makes mention of a talk she took the time to watch or an article she perused, I am exponentially more eager to hear what she has to say. Plus, I can’t help but think she is more invested, successful, and passionate about whatever she is discussing…just by focusing her attention on me.


Reference your experience, and be heart-centered about it. The best communicators are constantly choosing to show rather than tell. While in a professional bio or LinkedIn profile you may list your wow’, when communicating with people, focus on gracefully weaving in stories and examples of how you got an underperforming employee out of his own way or took a mompreneur from five-figures to multiple six-figures to enhance your credibility. The key is to be motivated by being of service to the person or people you are speaking with, to genuinely want them to see what is possible and to start taking action. While structurally you may not do much different if your self-talk, on the flip side, is “Like me, like me, like me” or “Say yes, say yes, say yes,” the energy will be completely different. People will feel like you are pushing rather than inviting, that you are selfish rather than selfless.

Social Media Madness: HR Can Be an Effective Referee

We first wrote about employers needing a social media policy back in 2010 (read the post here) and it’s a topic that our customers often ask for advice on. This is one of the reasons we decided it was very important to offer a “for credit” webinar on the topic of social media in the workplace.


Our webinar on 3/13/12 titled “Social Media Madness: HR Can Be an Effective Referee” covered quite a range of information. From the history of social media as it has changed our everyday workplace culture, to employment related legalities, all the way through policy recommendations, this 60 minute for-credit webinar offered a breadth of information.


As promised during the webinar Q&A this is a follow up blog post with additional information on sample social media policies.


It can difficult at best for employers to develop, from scratch, a social media policy that protects the employer, empowers the employee, doesn’t get in the way of building an employer/employee relationship, and still helps to engage a company’s community and keep a brand strong.


Let’s start with an infographic on social media in the workplace.

(Infographic is from See the original here.)

According to Social Media Today, there are a few standard components one should consider when writing a social media policy. The information below can be found in the original article on their site.


Here are the things to consider when developing a social media policy:

1. Why do you have a social media policy?

2. What is social media?

3. Which social media and networks are we talking about?

4. To whom does the policy apply?

5. How can an employee access to social media?

6. Definition of Terms (strict policy vs. guideline)


We also recommend you read this article in the National Law Review which covers “Social Media in the Workplace: NLRB Offers Guidance for ALL Employers on Offensive Posts and Social Media Policies”. Click hereto read SHRM’s sample social media policies.

(Disclaimer: You must be a SHRM member to login and read this policy).


Additionally, here are some public social media policies from some well known companies and government agencies that can also serve as excellent examples:



For a really full list of real-life examples of corporate social media policies, click here. To watch a recorded version of the Ascentis webinar “Social Media Madness: HR Can Be an Effective Tool”, click here.


Social Media is here to stay. Watch this video on the Social Media Revolution for more facts:


If you are interested in attending any of Ascentis educational series webinars, approved by the American Payroll Association and the Human Resource Certification Institute, click here to our current open webinar registrations.