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Category: Advice From Career Educators (page 1 of 2)

DEI as a Young Professional

The world has changed significantly. Not just in the last two centuries or the last two decades but even in the last two years. One of the hot topics of discussion has been diversity, equity and inclusion. Sometimes referred to as DEI. Or you might have seen D&I or EDI, or other acronyms. 

You’ll be able to find a lot of material online on “what is DEI,” why it is important, plus how organizations and leaders can create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace. Though a young professional recently pointed out to me that there isn’t as much out there related to what a young professional, recent grad or student intern could do.

“Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance” -Verna Myers

When I ask a young professional, recent grad or student intern about DEI, they often don’t have much of a reaction. On occasion, there are a few that have been on the receiving end of some sort of discrimination. Perhaps it’s anecdotally a good sign of the times that youth are not as afflicted. 

Many entry-level roles at companies abound with folks from different genders, racism ethnicities, physical & mental capabilities, etc. It seems like youth are anecdotally being invited to the party and being asked to dance. DEI seems to be a concern for senior leadership. Though, as these young folks advance in their career, DEI will likely be more of a concern. Conversations are starting on what can be done to get ahead of the challenge.  

Speaking to some DEI-minded folks, The following were collectively brainstormed (though not exhaustive by any means):

  1. Awareness
  2. Understanding
  3. Practice
  4. Improvement

Awareness 

“Awareness is the greatest agent for change” -Eckhart Tolle

Have you ever thought of the people you work with? How are they similar to you, and how are they different from you? Have you thought about your workplace from a DEI lens?

A youth in a group I was chatting with was wondering if I could even ask these types of questions. I said, “are we now so sensitive that we can’t even talk about it?”

Let’s bring the challenge into the light so they can be acknowledged and addressed. That doesn’t make the process easy. When our unconscious biases are acknowledged, the process can hurt. 

I recall a recent interaction where someone felt I was discriminating against them. The issue escalated. When I finally had a chance to acknowledge the alleged hurtful remark, I realized that “having no intention to hurt them” wasn’t necessarily good enough. The issue was eventually resolved with separate previously unknown trauma at play, and it led me on a journey to an awareness that I am very much thankful for.

Reading this article may very well be your first step to awareness. The next step is to learn more to gain some understanding.

How? Get involved in your company’s DEI groups. 

Doesn’t exist? Start one. 

Perhaps find a community organization or a trusted DEI ally to help. 

As a young professional, recent grad or student intern, you can make a difference.

You don’t have to wait to be in senior leadership. Though building a relationship with an executive sponsor could be a good step to make your DEI initiatives sustainable.

Understanding

With some newfound awareness, the next step is to gain some understanding. Perhaps connecting with a DEI professional, talking to a learned friend, researching a bit of history, or learning additional points of awareness to be noted.

While the process can be quite awkward and nerve-wracking, approaching understanding from a perspective of curiosity can be very helpful.

Asking questions is a great way of gaining understanding.

A few good questions to ask:

  • What is your definition of diversity? Equity? Inclusion? If we’re gonna be aware and understand it, we might as well get on the same page regarding what it means to us as an organization. DEI is not just gender or race and can include physical/mental abilities, religions, cultures and age. While you can start with a dictionary definition, each organization will often have to pick their own interpretations and prioritizations. 
  • Why is DEI important to us? Benefits are plentiful, and choose the ones that resonate with your organization. Whether it’s improved innovation, enhanced employee engagement, reaching broader markets, or others, align them with your organization’s values. 
  • How do we know that we’ve been successful with our DEI initiatives? Initiatives could start with a few awareness emails, continue with various workshops and learning and hopefully carry on with a thriving community. The start and end state will be up to you. 

There are plenty more questions to ask, though you can start by progressing your close colleagues to awareness and then understanding. Extend to broader departments and groups based on which are receptive and open. Then see what other parts of the company would be willing to take part. You might need senior leadership buy-in to help that happen. Or may choose to make it a grassroots effort. Think progress vs perfection. 

Again, a young professional, recent grad or student intern can make a difference. You don’t have to be an expert. You just need to be willing to put in the effort to move the initiatives forward. Though you will eventually need some senior leadership support in order to really help DEI initiatives thrive in your organization. 

At the end of the day, prioritizing and making the time is an important step to allow understanding to happen.

How? I allocate a few hours of your month, an hour of your week, or even a few minutes daily to DEI initiatives. Promote awareness. Have conversations. Improve your understanding. That time consistently over time can easily turn awareness into understanding. 

Practice 

“Consistent action creates consistent results” – Christine Kane

DEI it’s not a “one-and-done activity.” It’s something that needs to be practised consistently and often in order to be effective.

Yes, you may have had a workshop and felt great about your new DEI knowledge. You might have completed some DEI training and implemented the initiative so that it was successful. But what about next month? Or next year? Or the year after next?

How often will it be up to you and your organization? Those earlier on the path to awareness, understanding and developing it into regular practice will need more time. Eventually, if you can embed DEI into the culture of your organization, then last time is likely because the time you do spend will be habitual. 

That may sound daunting for a young professional, recent grad or student intern, though hopefully, you’ve already realized that you can make a difference. 

How? Find your “tribe” of DEI allies within your organization or community who can help the understanding turn into a regular practice.

Improvement 

If you’re at this stage on your DEI journey, then your high-achieving self will likely want to make things even better.

Perhaps you can share your successes with other departments or even other organizations and join the broader DEI community. Perhaps you can bring in folks from other organizations and learn from them. Maybe even secure executive support for a DEI audit to see how effective your initiatives have really been.

And what you’ll eventually realize is that you ARE making a difference. That is, once you realize that even as a young professional, recent grad or student intern, you can make a difference!

Exclusive Insights Live from our 2022 #TEAwards Surveys

Over 80 recruiters and industry professionals attended our 2022 TalentEgg Awards and Conference to celebrate the best recruitment practices among students and recent grads. During the virtual event, we conducted several surveys to uncover exclusive insights into the future of recruitment and the workplace.

EMPLOYEES ARE HAPPY WITH HYBRID AND REMOTE WORKPLACES

We asked recruiters and industry professionals questions: “What kind of workplace do you have?” and “What is the best part of your new workplace model?” 5% responded “In Office”, 36% responded “Remote”, while 59% responded “Hybrid”. Regarding the best part of their new workplace model, most respondents are happy about the comfort of working from home while still being able to connect with colleagues. In the post-pandemic aftermath, hybrid workplaces are the newest trend that will become the new normal.

Insights

SOFT SKILLS ARE THE NEW CRITICAL SKILLS

In our Guide to Recruitment 2022, we empathize the importance of soft skills for the career success of students and new graduates. We asked our awards and conference attendees to tell us if they think “soft skills are critical for young talents in the workplace?” All respondents said “Yes.” When we asked them if they believe their company should invest in Soft Skills Training, all respondents said “Yes” too.

Students’ hard skills are learned in the classroom, whereas soft skills come from experiences, group projects, and daily interactions, which people must go out of their way to develop. Soft skills make for a healthy working environment, drive positive change, help solve problems more efficiently, increase sales and help improve employee retention.

Before the pandemic, students and grads expressed their need for additional training before entering the workforce and continued learning opportunities. Therefore at TalentEgg, we are egg-cited to excited to announce the launch of our E-Learning Platform. TalentEgg’s eLearning Academy offers courses that teach introductory workplace soft skills for students and grads and intermediate soft skills to advance careers. These courses support Canada’s top talent’s school-to-work transition and early career development. To learn more about our eLearning Academy and Soft Skills, download our Guide to Recruitment 2022.

THE DEMAND FOR TAKING ACTION ON DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION IN THE WORKPLACE

It is now a habit for students, recent graduates, and working professionals to research each company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion policies before applying. We asked attendees, “What is the most important DEI initiative in your workplace?” Among the answers were “having appropriate hiring practices in place,” “accessible website,” “ERG,” and “inclusive recruitment strategies,” to name a few. If you are a recruiter or HR professional, sit down with your company leaders and discuss practical ways to integrate diversity and inclusion into the workplace.

Social media, blogs, and websites are great for promoting your DEI initiatives, but it can sometimes be hard to target those initiatives to the audience you intend to promote. That’s why coming soon to TalentEgg; we will be offering DEI eblasts. These eblasts will be targeted and sent to DEI clubs in over 30+ universities and colleges across Canada.

If you’re unsure of what implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives or training in the workplace may look like, we at TalentEgg are here to help you take that first step. We have a whole chapter on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the workplace, in our Guide to Recruitment 2022. 

NEW TRENDS FOR THE FUTURE OF CAMPUS RECRUITMENT

Due to the many options for recruiters, it can be challenging to choose where to put your campus recruitment efforts. When we asked attendees: “Do you think your campus recruitment strategies were up to date and effective in attracting young talent?” 57% of respondents answered with a “Yes” while 43% answered with a “No.” When we asked them, “Do you think your company should invest in new strategies to attract young talent?” all respondents agreed that their organizations should implement new strategies.

For many employers, a meaningful way to showcase their employer brand and capture students and recent grad’s attention is through events. Workplaces increasingly shifted to digital events during the pandemic, and this is a trend we believe is here to stay. Having your employer brand online is also critical to capture the attention of students and new grads.

Students and new grads overwhelmingly look for jobs on job board websites. Centralizing your organization’s recruitment efforts on job boards like TalentEgg is essential to developing and growing your employer brand beyond your career website to meet job seekers where they are. TalentEgg is not just a job board; we are also an employer branding platform to help you build and amplify your brand with hundreds of thousands of new grads and students.

But besides job boards, social media is by far the best way to engage students and new grads. Due to the rise of TikTok as the new preeminent platform, the digital landscape has dramatically changed. Successfully reaching students and recent grads on social media platforms requires a lot of work and time. Therefore, TalentEgg has invested heavily in the past year on Instagram and TikTok to enable our clients to use our TalentEgg platforms to access a broad audience of students and recent grads.

We are happy to announce that TalentEgg now offers TikTok Takeovers. During these TikToks, your organization can access TalentEgg’s TikTok account for one week, helping showcase your employer brand.

In addition, we are also launching TalentEgg Shorts, a video series showcasing your employer brand to help you grab students’ and new grads’ attention. With the fast pace and engaging graphics and music of our TalentEgg Shorts, the videos will be jam-packed with information while keeping them tight, concise and compelling. To learn more about our TikTok Takeovers and TalentEgg Shorts, download our Guide to Recruitment 2022.

THE CONTINUING IMPORTANCE OF MENTAL HEALTH IN THE WORKPLACE

Finally, mental health initiatives and awareness have gone a long way in the past few years, but much work still needs to be done. We asked our awards and conference attendees to tell us, “Do you think your employer provides sufficient mental health and wellness support?” The most common answer was “Yes.” We asked them, “Do you think your leadership would benefit from more training in supporting mental health and wellness of their employees?” 100% of respondents said “Yes.”

Workplaces can play a crucial part in mandating positive mental health for their workers. Furthermore, students and graduates report that mental health support at work is an essential factor in deciding where they want to work.

Here at TalentEgg, we realize that mental health training is in high demand amongst students, new grads and working professionals. We also know that as employers, schools and career centers, you want to continue to grow your mental health initiatives and create a safe and welcoming environment for all students, new grads and working professionals.

That’s why we created our new Mental Health & Psychological Safety In The Workplace Master Certificate Program on our TalentEgg eLearning Academy site. With these courses designed for managers and team leaders, you can build a psychologically safe workplace where employee mental health is a high priority.

For more trends on recruitment, the new digital recruitment word, and a glimpse of the future of the post-pandemic workplace, check out our Guide to Recruitment 2022 package, brought to you by our team at TalentEgg.

Nancy Sammon – A Champion for Students and EDI

For many students and recent grads, job hunting can be stressful and sometimes even intimidating. From resume and interview preparation, engaging employers in a virtual world, to finding a company whose values align with your own, it is no easy task to find the right opportunity for you. 

As a Relationship Manager at the Smith School of Business, Queen’s University, Nancy supports her corporate partners and is a trusted advisor in effectively engaging with both undergraduate and graduate students on campus. She also ensures students feel comfortable, confident, and to be their true authentic self throughout the on-campus recruitment (OCR) process.

students

Q. Tell us a bit about yourself!

A. With over 30 years of experience and a recognized leader in employer branding and campus recruitment, I would say my passion is helping students make the transition from school to work.

Prior to joining the team at Smith, I was the Director of University Relations at  TD Bank Group. I also held other key HR and talent acquisition roles across the organization throughout my career at TD. 

I have also had the privilege of being an active contributor to the community of career educators and employers focused on the school to work transition. As my career has unfolded, I have become a bit of a knowledge keeper of best practices in the campus space and am excited to share these any chance I get and with anyone who will listen.

I really see myself as a connector of people, skills, knowledge, and ideas.

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

A. I saw an opportunity to leverage my expertise in campus recruitment to support a broader base of employers in making connections to and engaging with top talent.  

I also used to hold sessions called “#NancysInTheHouse” when I was recruiting on campus to support diverse students in demystifying the career search and finding the right opportunity for them.  

So, my role as a Relationship Manager was a natural extension of what I love to do and a solid entry point for me into the Career Advancement Center (CAC) at Smith. I am also a proud Queen’s alumni, so it felt like a really good fit when the opportunity presented itself.

Q. What is one of your greatest achievements so far in your work with students?

A. My greatest achievement would have to be the creation of a unique opportunity for our corporate partners to engage with the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigenization (EDII) focused Student Clubs at the Smith School of Business. Since 2020, The CAC facilitates an annual Diversity Fair for over 100 employer representatives to diversify their talent pipeline directly connecting with the executives of our EDII clubs via lightning talks and dedicated networking lounges. What was truly amazing for me about this event was for student leaders to have their voices heard by employers and to see the wonderful engagement that this event enabled across the board.

Overall, the fairs have been a huge success based on the positive feedback from both our student leaders and corporate partners in attendance. Following the launch of these initiatives, our Career Advancement Center was honored to receive a number of awards from organizations like CIBC and the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE) in recognition of this important work.

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

A. From an Employer vantage point, they need to be really strategic in their EDII initiatives .It cannot be a once and done or a cookie cutter approach, they need to be thinking about how each community wants to be engaged. A big part of my role is supporting initiatives which help employers connect with diverse talent. A prime example would be our work in creating a best practices guide for employers in engaging with students from an EDII lens.

And, in supporting students, our work is about helping them to understand what EDII actually looks like in the workplace and providing resources such as mentoring, alumni connections, events, and other opportunities to do their research and find organizations that will embrace their authentic selves throughout their career.

Advice and Insights

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

A. From my viewpoint, year-round engagement is critical. Whether it is info sessions, 1:1 coffee chats, alumni panels, attending industry nights, roundtables or the like, employers need to make their presence and opportunities known to students and recent grads. Their engagement needs to include diverse representation and perspectives, so students can see themselves reflected in their organizations. 

In a virtual world, employers also need to be thinking about how they can support students to have their voices heard and in standing out as candidates. Consider smaller and more niche events as a part of your recruitment strategy versus solely focussing on large events. Now, more than ever, it is important to engage partners like Career Centres and TalentEgg in your campus strategy to help build your brand amongst students and reach the top talent you need to drive your organization forward!


About Nancy

Nancy is a Relationship Manager and Career Connector who has over 30 years of experience in the campus recruitment space. She is passionate about bridging the gap between school-to-work for students, as well as helping maintain a strong connection between employers and diversity clubs on campus. Connect with Nancy on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/nancymoulday/ and visit https://smith.queensu.ca/recruiting/index.php to learn more about the Smith School of Business, Queen’s University and services of the Career Advancement Centre.

Habits to Become the Best Version of Yourself

I’ve been asked more and more to share my insights on developing habits with various organizations since the start of the pandemic. Many have found themselves with extra time with their commutes removed from their day. Some are choosing to feel that extra time with habits like exercise, reading, meditation, and a multitude of other activities. Some are successful at turning them into habits. Many or not. I share my insights as to why.

Why are habits important in the first place?

For anyone who has ever tried to start a new routine, oftentimes an act of sheer willpower is needed to get started. That willpower often drains energy and you don’t want to be using that much energy every time you do something. Habits can help you reduce that energy train so you can use that energy for other things.

Parts of a habit

Habits can be sliced and diced into various segments. I like to use Charles Duhigg’s version. 

  • Cue: A trigger that signals the habit to start
  • Action: The activity of the habit itself
  • Reward: A reinforcement for the behaviour

Habits don’t always form when you start doing things primarily because without the cue or the reward, The habit has nothing to anchor itself to in your brain. 

Getting rid of a habit or starting a new habit

One of the most surefire ways to get rid of a habit is to remove all cues for that habit. Unfortunately that is easier said than done if you cannot completely control your environment.

Consider the FOGG behavioural model. Think of one vertical axis for Motivation and a horizontal axis for Ability. There would be an action line that starts from high Motivation and low Ability and curves down and flattens towards low Motivation and high Ability. When something is above the line then it occurs and happens. When something is “below” the line then it does not occur or happen.

That means to get rid of a habit you need to decrease your motivation or decrease your ability. 

You can decrease your motivation by pairing your habit with a consequence.

  • Want to stop snoozing and sleeping in? Set an embarrassing social media post to go out just after your alarm wakes you up. You better get up, or that post will tell the world about your embarrassing moment!

You can decrease your ability by making your habit more difficult to do. 

  • Want to stop snacking on some junk food? Stash it way towards the back of your cupboard where you have to inconveniently take out other items to get to it.
  • Want to stop spending so much? Put your credit card in a hard to access spot. Or even freeze it in a block of ice so that you literally have to melt it to access it – Hopefully by the time you get your credit card out, your impulse to buy has subsided. Make sure you also delete any saved credit cards on your browser for online sites. 

On the other hand, if you want to start a habit, you need to increase your motivation or increase your ability. You can increase your

You can increase your motivation by finding the core purpose for wanting to set up the habit or finding a partner to hold you accountable for your actions. 

  • To find your core purpose or why for the habit, ask yourself: why is that habit important to you? With whatever answer you provide, ask yourself: why is that important to you? Repeat that five more times. If you don’t repeat yourself and really focus on it’s important to you then you’ll often find the core reason
  • An accountability partner can help many stay on task. That’s why study buddies, gym buddies and other type of accountability partners can’t be so helpful 

NOTE: for most people one or the other works better. Take a look at when you’ve been successful in starting a habit in the past and repeat your success.

To increase your ability, understand your tendencies.

The acronym SPACEBEAR can help you to find some of your tendencies. 

  • Step-type: Do you prefer small steps, or do you “go big or go home”?
  • Pace-type: Are you a marathoner (consistently spend time to move towards your goal), sprinter (hit things hard, then take a break then hard and break), procrastinator (wait until the last minute before you get something done)
  • Aversion-type: Do you react better to a “carrot”, or a “stick”?
  • Chrono-type: Are you a Lion (get stuff done early in the morning often before anybody else is awake), Bear (slower to rise and get stuff done in the middle of the day), or Wolf (our most productive late night) 
  • Expectations-type: Are you an Obliger (need someone to help hold them accountable) or a Questioner (need to know why something is important to them)
  • Buying-type: Are you an Under-buyer (buy just enough or wait until you’re almost out), or an over-buyer (buy so much that you’ll never run out and always have some in reserve)
  • End-type: Are you a Finisher (like to check things off your to-do list), or an opener (like to start new things – though not necessarily finish them)
  • Availability-type: do you prefer simplicity, or abundance
  • Recognition-type: do you prefer familiarity, or novelty?

Knowing your tendencies can do wonders to get that habit going. For example: you might start a habit like exercise and only continue it if you constantly find new and novel parts of it to do. Or you might need to start with familiar and easy to do exercises before you gradually move on two more difficult exercises. 

Summary

Wow there are many more ways and considerations to effectively start or stop a habit, these will hopefully be some useful tips to get you started.

By setting up habits, you might find that you have more energy to do other things throughout the day. 

Pick something from the above to implement. Try it out for a few days or weeks. If it sticks then keep it. If it doesn’t, then try something new. 

You’ll likely find that when you set up these habits you become even more productive in your work and life.

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

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