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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!

Empowering Students with TTi’s Leadership Development Program

Techtronic Industries (TTi) is internationally recognized as a global leader in the design, manufacturing and marketing of power tools, outdoor power equipment, hand tools and floor care appliances worldwide. TTi is proud of its history and the vast legacy of tradition and excellence that they have inherited from the brands that make up its company today. If you’re passionate about empowering students, keep reading to learn how TTi achieves this goal through fostering strong values with their Leadership Development Program.

We spoke with Dave Dininio, the Director of Talent Acquisition at TTi, to learn more about how TTi continues to support students and new grads on their career journey.

The Leadership Development Program

We believe exceptional people drive exceptional results, which is why TTi launched the Leadership Development Program. The Leadership Development Program is a comprehensive training program to develop outstanding and extraordinary people for the long term. The Program provides employees with relevant sales and field marketing experience while learning about our customers from a fundamental perspective. Throughout the Program, students and grads will be able to hone different skills such as communication, product knowledge and business acumen. They will execute exciting weekly projects to gain hands-on relevant workplace experience. The Program provides them with all the resources to accelerate their career. At every step of their career, we provide them with a combination of support, guidance and freedom that brings out the best.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at TTi

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential to establishing and maintaining a thriving workplace. Diversity is the recognition, appreciation, and acceptance of individual differences inside and outside the organization. Equity is about ensuring fairness and impartiality for everyone, and TTi Canada strives to provide equitable access to opportunities for all candidates and employees. 

Collaborative, encouraging, respectful and polite are how I would describe our inclusive workplace. It is supported by policies that are intended to eliminate any barriers, bias and intolerance to encourage the involvement and contribution of all employees. Diversity, equity and inclusion are essential to TTi Canada because it helps attract top talent. Many students and new grads seek employment in a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization where they are safe and supported. TTi Canada provides that kind of environment.

A Future After TTi’s Leadership Development Program

The Leadership Development Program provides new employees with various career advancement opportunities. An entry-level Field Sales Representative (FSR) or Brand Marketing Representative (BMR) can move into a position with more responsibilities, industry specialization and/or people management, such as Territory Manager, District Supervisor or Trades Site Specialist. The Leadership Development Program is a progressive training program that prepares them for the next level in their career and gives them the skills and knowledge to succeed at any level. The table below highlights potential career path options. 

  • Field Sales Representative
  • Brand Marketing Representative
  • Field Marketing Representative
  • Territory Manager
  • District Supervisor
  • Sales Coordinator
  • Trades Site Specialist
  • Field Sales Manager
  • Key Account Manager
  • Market Manager
  • Senior Trades Site Specialist
  • Regional Sales Manager 
  • Strategic Account Manager
  • District Manager
  • Program Manager
  • Marketing Manager
  • Divisional Sales Manager
  • Marketing Coordinator
  • Assistant Marketing Manager
  • Program Manager
  • Sales operations manager
  • Marketing Manager
  • Senior marketing manager
  • Group marketing manager

 

Opportunities for Students and New Grads at TTi

Career centres and schools, if your students or recent alumni are looking to grow their leadership skills, we are constantly recruiting for enthusiastic top talent year-round. We recommend that students and new grads regularly check our Career Site and LinkedIn page for new job postings and information about the company. Moreover, we encourage students and recent grads to join our LinkedIn Group, TTi Canada Careers for Students and New Grads and start a conversation or ask questions.

When students and new grads join TTi Canada, whether in a full-time role or Co-op capacity, we want them to stay with us for the long term. This long-term goal is why we invest a lot in our new employees, ensuring they have the best training, robust support and accessible resources to achieve their goals. Our Leadership Development Program is where it all starts.

Students and grads who join TTi Canada will get to enjoy a diverse set of roles and responsibilities that will allow them to acquire various skills that are valuable and transferrable throughout their careers. They will be allowed to collaborate on real-world projects and opportunities where they can contribute their ideas to gain relevant experience. As employees of TTi Canada, students and grads will have ample opportunity to advance their careers, move up within the company and explore different positions. We pride ourselves on developing people, recognizing talent and promoting from within – all part of our dynamic culture. 

How the Pandemic Has Affected Recruiting

We have to adjust our hiring practices to align with what is happening in the job market. The pandemic has caused a shift in candidate mentality, particularly in compensation and remote work. Candidates demand higher pay, and there are more requests for remote or hybrid work environments. TTi Canada offers an excellent package for our Field Sales Representatives and Brand Marketing Representatives, including an attractive base salary, a company vehicle, great benefits, and an annual performance bonus. We do not offer remote or hybrid work schedules. Our Field Sales Representatives and Brand Marketing Representatives work in our clients’ stores daily.   

Companies are replenishing their staff and ramping up hiring practices, increasing competition for talent. TTi Canada is positioning itself as a preferred employer at campuses by attending career events, partnering with student services departments and driving our employer brand at schools across the country. We openly discuss our great culture, career advancement opportunities and Leadership Development Program to stay ahead of our competition.

What are 5 major hiring trends you see in the future?

✓    Diversity Hiring – Inclusion and diversity offer TTi Canada many benefits, including improved employee happiness, productivity, retention, loyalty, and employer branding. We realize that diversity, equity and inclusion are not just feel-good initiatives but a must for our success.

✓     Speed of Hiring – With increased employer competition in the job market, our hiring processes must be efficient, optimized and technology-driven. We are focused on reducing the time it takes to fill positions. We know that other employers will hire the best talent if we aren’t fast enough.    

✓     Employer Branding and Positioning – Improving our employer brand image to show that we are a highly respected company with strong values and a great culture is key to being the best and being a preferred employer among students and new grads 

✓     Providing the best candidate experience – We ensure students and new grads can apply easily, there is transparency in our hiring process, and people know where they stand and the next step. We’re open to talking about compensation, the demands of the job and our company culture.

✓     Proactive hiring – It’s not enough to post a job these days. Our Recruiters are proactively potential sourcing candidates via LinkedIn and other channels. They hone recruitment efforts, actively search for talent and stay ahead of recruiting trends. These trends include being front and present at campuses by attending career events, conducting information sessions and connecting with students through various channels.

Enforcing Fairness and Equality During the Hiring Process

Fairness and equality during the hiring process are fundamental, so we give each candidate an equal opportunity to showcase their professional background and skill set. We ensure that every candidate is asked the same role-based questions during interviews for consistency and equality. We utilize a matrix system to score various competencies and skills exhibited during the hiring process to ensure a fair comparison of all candidates. Our Managers are provided with hiring training, which includes eliminating bias and stereotyping during the hiring process. Finally, we require the opinions of at least two people when making a hiring decision which mitigates the risk of bias or stereotyping when hiring. 

Final Thoughts

TTi Canada is an excellent place for any student or new graduate to start their career. TTi Canada is where culture meets opportunity, and students and recent grads have the chance to advance their careers and work with intelligent, progressive and like-minded people. It’s an opportunity to support some of the best product brands in the world (RYOBI, MILWAUKEE, RIDGID, HOOVER, DIRT DEVIL) while developing a long-term career and working in a dynamic, forward-thinking culture. 

To learn more about Techtronic Industries and their Leadership Development Program, check out their employer profile on TalentEgg!

Eliminating Recruitment Bias Through Diversity

Bell is packed full of superstar recruiters who find and hire hundreds of high potential students every year, including Minami Alguire, Senior Manager for Talent Acquisition. TalentEgg had the chance to hear how the Bell recruitment team is passionate about welcoming students, helping students find their fit, eliminating bias and seeing students’ potential to contribute meaningfully straight out of school. Finding one’s path after school can be daunting, and it makes Bell proud to know how the company’s recruiters show up for students. Recruiters make connections and share their expertise with students at recruitment events and work with hiring leaders to make matches between students and teams that are great for business and key post-graduation milestones for the student hires. 

Bell is a space where recruitment and development merge. The company recognizes that there is so much opportunity for student hiring to bring fresh ideas and skills into the organization and invest in future generations. With solid support from its executive team, Bell has the passion and the commitment to make great things happen in the campus recruitment space!

Please keep reading to learn more about how Bell welcomes new grads and students and what opportunities are available after joining the company. As well as Bell’s commitment to mental health & what steps are being taken to create an inclusive workplace.

Bell’s Main Initiative for Students and New Graduates 

Bell welcomes students and new graduates into the telecommunications, media, and retail industries via the company’s award-winning internship and recent graduate leadership programs. Bell knows precisely how important the transition from school to work is and has over ten years of experience successfully launching new grads into leadership positions.

Commitment to Mental Health in the Workplace

Bell Let’s Talk partners with schools across Canada to equip post-secondary schools with digital tool kits to engage students in conversation around awareness and self-care. Last year, Bell announced the launch of the $3.1M Bell Let’s Talk Post-Secondary Fund to support Canadian colleges and universities in implementing the National Standard of Canada for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students.

One of the four pillars of the Bell Let’s Talk campaign is workplace leadership, and Bell is proudly committed to leading by example in this space. Since 2010, more than 18,000 Bell employees and 13,000 Bell leaders have completed mental health training. Bell’s initiatives to improve mental health awareness, training and benefits have reduced short-term disability claims related to mental health by over 20% and reduced relapse and recurrence by more than 50%. Earlier this year, Bell has enhanced its psychological care benefit to provide unlimited coverage for mental-health services! 

Essential Aspects of the Career Path

Bell is a leader in taking care of its employees, and it shows through the mentorship and experience provided.

  • Executive Mentorship –  Bell helps students and recent grads gain exposure to exceptional leaders throughout the company. Minami’s executive mentor was paired with her during her time in the graduate leadership program, and they still meet regularly! 
  • Real experience – Whether a student joins Bell for the summer or a full-time role after graduating, they can expect to work on real projects that impact how Canadians communicate with each other and the world. 
  • A sense of community – Bell’s cohorts have many opportunities to bond during onboarding and stay connected as they move through their careers. For new hires, this means joining a company with a built-in network of over 1500 alumni that finished the program before them!

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiatives

For Bell, diversity, equity and inclusion are more than a seat at the table; it’s the key to the skills and innovation that make the whole more significant than the sum of its parts. Everyone benefits from a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment! Sometimes DE&I shows up at work in meaningful ways – like Bell’s 2020 announcement to hire a minimum of 40% BIPOC talent in its new grad and intern programs – sometimes it shows up in the little things, like colleagues eagerly learning how to pronounce someone’s name. At Bell, they don’t just accept difference – they celebrate it!

#TeamBell is also passionately committed to DE&I. Bell currently has three employee resource groups run entirely by employees to support its members and allies. These include Women at Bell, Pride at Bell, and Black Professionals at Bell.

Taking Steps to Eliminate Bias in the Hiring Process

Bell has several steps to reduce and eliminate bias in its hiring process. These include conscious inclusion training to help employees and leaders better understand unconscious bias and their critical role in fostering an inclusive workplace. Bell also ensures hiring decisions are made with various thoughts and inputs to guarantee that Bell continues to be one of the best companies to work for in Canada. 

The best way to help students and new graduates get involved with Bell opportunities is for them to speak to recruiters directly! Bell publishes its events calendar on its career site and its TalentEgg page throughout the year. The company’s virtual career fair is one of the highlights of the recruitment calendar. Students will meet some current grads, hiring leaders, and recruiters, hear from executives, participate in speed interviews, and access exclusive webinars and resources from the recruitment team. In the meantime, you can read more about Bell HERE!

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!

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