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Communication and Connection In a COVID World

 

Luki, Communication, Connection, COVIDFor many of us, it’s been a while since we bumped into a colleague in the lunchroom or in the hallway to catch up on how they are doing and what they are doing. Lockdowns and social distancing has made communication and connection more difficult. Perhaps not difficult, just different.

While COVID May have made it more challenging to connect with folks on The same floor or in the same office, the acceptance of video conferencing has helped stay connected with folks that are outside the building, city and perhaps even country. 

Proactive Connection

One of the biggest changes with staying connected with coworkers is to be proactive with your connections. Allocate the time on your calendar to connect with folks. 

  • If you regularly bumped into someone at the water cooler, perhaps schedule time on both your calendars to catch up for a 15 minute zoom call. 
  • Block off 30 minutes in your day to message and connect with folks that you haven’t connected with in over a month. 
  • Allocate 60 minutes a week to further develop relationships with folks who haven’t spoken to in over three months.

Play with the frequency and duration based on the relationship and your circumstances. At the end of the day, be proactive and allocate the time. 

Communication Styles

Well some people prefer to communicate in person, that luxury is not quite available anymore. Consider furthering your relationship with a video call to stay connected, or engage in text or email chats or even phone calls can still happen even in the age of video and digital communication. Some people have a preference for video chats. Others would rather communicate via text or email. Others just want to hear the sound of your voice. Consider what communication style is relevant for the other person.

Think about exercising the “platinum rule” instead of the “golden rule”. The platinum rule suggests: “do unto others as they would want done unto themselves”. So even if you are an email person, if that person prefers phone calls, then give them a phone call.

Feedback and Praise

One important type of communication that you should consider making more regular if you are not already is feedback. Letting people know how they are doing and where they can improve.

Feedback should express concern, demonstrate curiosity, seek to clarify, as well as be constructive, consistent. clear, candid and close in time to the activities in question. 

You can use the ADNs approach:

  • Ask: are they open to feedback at the moment? “May I…”
  • Describe: specific behaviour and impact “… when you … “ “Here’s what happens…”
  • Next steps: what to do ongoing “How can you do this differently?  How can I help?” “Thanks, keep it up!”

An important form of feedback that is often neglected is praise. Oftentimes we are quick to connect with folks to provide some corrective feedback. Consider allocating more time for praise and positive feedback. become a “praise prism”. Praise is actually an infinite resource and you might find that your praise gets amplified across your organization like a prism. 

Summary

Take some time to reflect on how you are communicating and connecting during these interesting times. Consider adding some proactive connection time to reach out to folks that you would normally connect with, as well as connect with those that you might not. be mindful of people’s communication styles and preferences and adjust appropriately. Don’t forget feedback and especially remember to spread the praise. It’s often harder to know how you’re doing when you see your coworkers less frequently. So be sure to support your team whether you stay remote, go hybrid, or return to the office.

What will you do to connect and communicate better?

 


About Luki

Luki is a career coach and likes to say that he has found his purpose helping others find theirs. A former management consultant and campus recruiting lead, he shares his SIWIKE Stuff I Wish I Knew Earlier through books, podcasts, videos and other content. Connect with him on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/lukidanu/ or Subscribe on YouTube to access other content https://youtube.com/focusinspired

 

 

CPA Ontario’s Success with Campus and Student Engagement

The team at CPA Ontario are made up of the brightest educators, thought leaders, regulators, advocates and providers. They go the extra mile and often take measures to protect the public interest by ensuring their CPA members meet the highest standards of integrity and expertise. Additionally, CPA Ontario provides pathways to the profession for aspiring accountants from around the world, and engage in their community as responsible corporate citizens.

However, when it comes to the accounting profession and specifically the CPA designation with regards to the kinds of careers it can lead to, there are still many misconceptions regarding the industry. CPA Ontario has many resources that dispel these myths about CPAs working with excel all day or being stuck in a cubicle, and host their biweekly information sessions where students can learn more about how the CPA can lead to a successful career in business.

Anyone can register here: https://www.cpaontario.ca/become-a-cpa/post-secondary-student/events to attend an information session and learn more about the future of accounting, finance, general business, and how the CPA can help anyone reach for their dreams.

Keep reading to learn more about how CPA Ontario solidifies their initiatives in campus engagement, diversity, equity and inclusivity, and how they successfully navigate connecting with students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CPA Ontario’s Support for Student Community Engagement

At CPA Ontario, they hold a lot of pride in their Post-Secondary Ambassador Program (PSAP) and Board of Ambassadors Program, especially regarding the strong community of students they have fostered. The CPA Ontario community has explored careers in business, built relevant skills that employers are looking for in successful candidates, and have connected with key employer stakeholders.

Their Post-Secondary Ambassador Program and Board of Ambassador Program have been successful ways for us to engage student voices in their space. Additionally, their Board of Ambassador representatives act as an advocacy and advisory group for their recruitment team, which ensures they keep their pulse on student needs. In terms of creative ways to get CPA Ontario’s message out, they try to meet students where they are at; whether it’s through a new series of Instagram lives and takeovers, or by hosting their Live @ the Drive-In movie night (with lots of popcorn of course). As CPA Ontario moves towards a hybrid of in-person and virtual, some of these tactics may change, and so now CPA Ontario is asking themselves new sets of questions on how to continue to support student career paths.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives in the Accounting Industry

At any organization, DEI and related initiatives should mean that all people should have a seat at a table, and that their voices are heard. It was important to the CPA Ontario team last year that their online programming continued to drive inclusivity, making their events accessible to wider audiences geographically and representationally.

At CPA Ontario, events are frequently hosted throughout the year. To name a few initiatives, they partner with agencies to reach new audiences, hold events specific to niche groups, and ensure all their participants are made aware that accommodations will be supported.

3 Key Insights Into Campus Recruitment and Student Engagement with CPA Ontario

Trend 1: Students have no shortage of aspiration, for themselves or for the world. Yet, they are easily discouraged by the realities and threats of post-academic life.

So, they ensure that they don’t ever shy away from the tough conversations whether it be in a recruiter’s presentation or panel discussion with CPAs. The CPA Ontario team addresses the fears students’ have about the future of AI, work-life balance, and others in open discussions, so students feel equipped when they begin their careers.

Trend 2: The next generation of students will be going to be looking for more flexibility and the ability to have influence/make an impact in their future careers.

So, they highlight the many diverse career paths that their current CPAs are in so students can envision themselves in similar paths. Through their programming, they also share how CPAs reimagined their careers to create their own unique paths, to inspire students who aspire to do the same. They also provide forums of discussions and facilitate opportunities for students to connect with these professionals to form their own relationships.

Trend 3: Employers are finding there are human skills gaps when hiring new grads.

So, they provide training in important human skills like leadership, responsibility, personal management, and emotional intelligence to name a few. As CPA Ontario is also a regulator, it is important to the recruitment team that they are equipping future CPAs to be valuable leaders, employees, and entrepreneurs.

The COVID-19 Pandemic’s Effect on Campus Engagement

The pandemic resulted in the CPA Ontario team doing things differently. They had to reimagine their offerings to provide enhanced online experiences. For example, their Employment Connections Career Fair which was once limited because it was held in Toronto and in-person, can now have any number of students across Ontario attend.

The most rewarding aspect has been the feedback from their post-secondary students who have thanked us for the online community of students they built, during a time that many of them felt very isolated at home. The CPA Ontario team gave students a space to connect with each other, gain new skills, and meet CPAs, all while having fun!

The most challenging aspect was probably at the beginning of the pandemic when the team would ask each other how they would do all that:

  • What platforms would they use?
  • What would the tone and cadence of their virtual spaces look like?

They had a lot more questions than they did answers, but they were quick to not get stuck in their questions and begin making moves. It was trial by fire, but the CPA Ontario team strongly believes they have come out victorious on the other side!

Nayelli Perez – Dynamic Career Approaches to the Changing Workforce

It is common for students to not have it all figured out. Choosing and committing to a career path can take the form of many shapes, and it is no easy feat to determine it by yourself. As a Co-op Coordinator for the Applied Science Co-op program at the University of British Columbia, Nayelli Perez understands the struggle that students face. That’s why as a career educator, Nayelli is passionate about helping students find and be successful in their co-op roles. Additionally, Nayelli also does 1-on-1 appointments with students to go over their applications for co-op roles and to provide coaching on how they could navigate the workplace! 

We recently interviewed Nayelli to learn more about her work with students and soon-to-be-grads!

career

Q. Tell us a bit about yourself!

A. After graduating with a Master’s degree in Counseling, I landed in the dynamic world of higher education. I have an extensive background of over 10 years in career counselling. 

Over the years working in higher education, my positions have ranged from being predominantly career coaching to becoming more involved with employer relations. I also have wide ranging interests that I incorporate into my work – such as economic development, urban planning and entrepreneurship. What my interests have in common is that they go along with my passion of helping people and societies reach their highest (and most authentic) potential and work together to push society further.

I also enjoy using my interests of connecting ideas and creating relationships to assist employers with their campus recruitment strategies – coming up with new programming and events that employers could take part in to meet students, recruit for their positions, and develop a talent pipeline!

Q. Why did you decide to go into Career Education?

A. I got into this field by happenstance, really. I feel like my purpose in life is to help people find their path and learn more about themselves. Originally, I thought I would be a guidance counselor for high school students, but ended up working for a university (Hofstra University) right out of graduate school. 

Through working at Hofstra, I ended up working at a career centre and haven’t looked back. As a young person, I didn’t know about careers in higher education and career services. But once I entered that type of career I really enjoyed it. There’s a sense of gratification when I can help a student reach their career goals.

Q. What do you think employers can be doing to best support students and new grads in hatching their careers in the age of digital recruitment and hybrid work?

A. I think employers need to recognize the hybrid, digital world we are living in. Especially in 2022, more and more employers are beginning to fully embrace a hybrid or permanent remote working model. 

Additionally, I think that type of work environment makes more sense from a sustainability and economic point of view. Cost of living in Canada is high and public transportation infrastructure isn’t the greatest, which means that it costs more money and time for people to get to work or live close to work. If employees are spread thin with commuting time and/or financial strain, they are not going to be able to perform as well and/or will ultimately move on to companies that will provide them the opportunity to perform at their optimal level. Because of that, hybrid and remote working environments really make sense in the Canadian context. 

If employers are going to have a remote or hybrid work environment, they’ll need to think of what supports their employees will need for that – what home office equipment can they provide, how can they ensure that team building will still occur and how can they continue to motivate staff when they are not all working in the same office. I think many employers have shown that it is possible to do, and more will continue to do so.

Q. What do you think students and employers need to understand when it comes to DEI?

A. I think DEI should really be the foundation of everything we do in career services. For students, I think it’s important for them to understand what are their rights in the workplace (in regards to being treated with equity and respect in the workplace) and how to identify whether a company has a commitment to DEI. 

Moreover, I think employers need to understand how their workplace culture and practices may not always be equitable and/or inclusive, even if that’s how it’s initially perceived by those reviewing them.

Advice and Insights

Q. What do you think is the best way for employers to connect with and attract top students right now?

A. I think employers should keep in mind the benefits that the current generation wants in the workplace. For instance, some of these benefits include freedom of where to work, support in professional and career development, and encouragement of mental health, health in general and work life balance. These benefits have evolved significantly due to the changes that the pandemic has brought about. 

Employees don’t just want to have a job, they want to be in a work environment that supports their authentic selves in a way that is holistic.

Q. What’s your best advice for fellow Career Educators?

A. If I had to narrow down my best advice, I would tell Career Educators:

  • Continue to learn how the world of work is changing
  • Reflect on the lessons you have learned in your career; those lessons will be ones you can impart to your students and/or employers
  • Continue to learn who you really are. By being true to who you are, you are best able to help others do the same with the career advice you give

Q. What is your best advice for students who are looking to start their careers in this current environment?

A. My best advice for students in this current environment:

  • Be agile. The career landscape is always changing. Jobs become obsolete; new ones emerge.
  • Work for organizations that share your values. It can be draining to work at a place that doesn’t know how you best work and the lifestyle you want to have. There are plenty of choices in careers and places to work and employers are adapting to the desires of the workforce. You don’t have to sell yourself short.

About Nayelli

Nayelli is a Co-op Coordinator at The University of British Columbia who has over 10 years of experience in career coaching. She is passionate about providing students and working professionals with the tools they need for determining, establishing and succeeding in their careers, as well using her wide range of interests to help find dynamic approaches to campus recruitment strategies!

Connect with Nayelli on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/nayelliperez/ and visit https://coop.apsc.ubc.ca/ to learn more about the University of British Columbia and how their Applied Science Co-op program remains one of the most successful programs in the country.

Let’s Talk Talent! April Edition

Keeping your employer’s brand and opportunities top of mind for students, new grads, and early career talent is paramount in today’s recruitment landscape. In our work with our clients at TalentEgg, we have found employers experience the greatest success in this regard when they:

  • Give candidates a real look at “what’s behind the curtain” in your industry and organization
  • Commit to Investing in skill-building, early career development, and well-being of your workforce
  • Target and show up often in the digital sphere of Gen Z talent
  • Help candidates stand out and demonstrate their skills
  • Share compelling stories that candidates can see themselves reflected in
  • Take a multi-faceted and high touch approach during peak recruitment periods

Last month, we explored approach # 2 – Commit to investing in your workforce’s skill-building, early career development, and well-being and marked the launch of the TalentEgg e-Learning Academy!

In this edition, we will take a deeper dive into approach # 3 – Target and often show up in Gen Z Talent’s digital sphere.

Before the pandemic in March 2020, thought leaders in campus recruitment often talked about “boots on ground” approaches and a need to “show up” often in students, new grads, and early career talent’s environments as parts of an effective campus strategy. To some extent, this also involved having a strong social media presence.

In the age of virtual recruitment and hybrid learning, frequent engagement and “showing up” where the talent you need is already spending time is an even more vital ingredient to campus recruitment and employer branding success. An established social media presence has proven essential but is rarely enough on its own. So, what are some of the other effective ways you can engage students and new grads digitally? 

One of the most powerful tools you can have in today’s recruitment toolkit is the ability to tailor your messaging and target your engagement to the audiences you most want to reach. Whether it is those in a specific program or area of study, particular geography or demographic, or those with a certain set of interests, or even speak an additional language, digital engagement enables you to be as targeted in your outreach as you like.

Many of our clients have successfully promoted their brand and opportunities using targeted e-mail blasts and mobile marketing campaigns. This blend provides vehicles for telling their career story, driving traffic to their digital content (e.g. videos, blog posts/editorials) and building awareness of their events and opportunities on a large scale but also a curated audience based on their recruitment needs.

Mobile marketing ads appear where your target audience is already spending time online. And students and new grads have been shown to click these ads at twice the average industry rate. This tells us they are paying attention and engaging with content that appeals to their career interests.

Here are some examples of these marketing tools in action:

Evolution Mining is newer to the Canadian campus recruitment space. They have effectively used e-mail blasts to introduce themselves to students and new graduates with backgrounds in science, mining, geology, environmental science, technology, and engineering, promote their virtual information sessions, and encourage candidates to apply to their new graduate programs.

They have also leveraged mobile marketing to ensure they reach potential candidates from communities close to their mine site, studying at their target schools, or actively interested in a career in mining.


EF Tours needed to find talent for their bilingual sales team based in communities around Montreal. Mobile marketing enabled them to engage a broader pool of candidates with the skills, language profile, interests, and experience they were looking for.

In addition to targeting, consistency in your digital engagement and keeping your brand front and centre with candidates during key recruitment periods are also highly effective. Several of our clients have found leaderboard and pop-up ads to be excellent vehicles for this type of engagement.  

Rogers utilizes pop-up ads on TalentEgg’s main pages to drive students and new grads to their open opportunities and to discover more about what it is like to work at Rogers via their employer profile.

Chick-fil-A invites top student and new grad talent to explore their leadership development program and learn more about their distinct workplace culture.

Leaderboard ad

Pop-up ad

Finally, think about ways you can take a few chances and engage Gen Z on other platforms that are a big part of their digital sphere. Recently, TalentEgg has been experimenting with content creation and engagement on TikTok. Over the last few months, we have been steadily increasing our followers and have seen some solid engagement with the career content our team has been sharing on the platform.

talent

If you’re feeling brave and want to pilot sharing some of your own branded content via our TikTok account, reach out to us! We’d love to collaborate with you!!

In summary, target your audience, be consistent with staying top of mind, and don’t be afraid to take a few chances and experiment. These are three tactics TalentEgg has found to be very useful in engaging with and recruiting top students, new graduates, and early career talent in a virtual world.

Until next time…

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