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How Schools and Employers Can Help Support Students

McMaster University is one of the top post-secondary schools in the country. We had a chance to speak with Tanya Kett, M.Ed., CDP, CPC, a career counsellor at the university. Tanya supports undergraduate students from all Faculties and levels. Part of this support includes addressing students’ concerns, helping them explore their options, discussing their career goals and developing personalized career and further education plans. Her primary focus is equity-deserving students who experience barriers to their career development. Tanya engages students in a collaborative process to navigate their career journey and works with colleagues to develop new programs and services. The department offers individual appointments, drop-ins and group webinars/workshops, both hybrid and in-person. Here at TalentEgg, we wanted to know more about her 19 years in career development and her advice to schools and employers to help students flourish.

Why Career Education/Coaching?

My high school guidance counsellor encouraged me to work as my co-op in our school’s career centre. I learned about all the resources and assessments we had and eventually had class visits from my peers. At that time, I wanted my career to involve helping people navigate their career and education options — but I had no idea what job that was. It wasn’t one of those job titles we know about (i.e., teacher, social worker, lawyer). Years later, during university at McMaster, I discovered the career centre (where I now work!), got involved as a peer mentor and learned about the different roles, such as counsellor, advisor, coach and practitioner. There were so many options! Building connections from that experience and a few other vital contacts along the way were pivotal to my career.

Rewarding Achievements

My achievements are connected to my students and colleagues. When the students I have the privilege of supporting succeed, that is my most outstanding achievement. When they let me know they landed a job, got accepted to their program or had an “aha moment” about their career path, it lets me know I’ve made a positive impact. It reminds me how valuable our work in the career field is for students. Colleagues who support one another and share expertise and resources contribute to students’ success. 

If I had to pick my most outstanding achievement, it would be that I found a career that I love and am passionate about.

Future Goals

I want to carve out more time for professional development. I always have a long list of ideas, such as courses, certificates and conferences to attend, but I tend to focus more on students during the academic year. This doesn’t leave a lot of time for PD. I feel like there is so much to learn about changes in technology and how we deliver service, theoretical approaches to consider, and so many resources to explore.

Commitment to DEI

My commitment is to support students who identify with equity-deserving and diverse groups who may experience barriers to career development. I collaborate with them to identify actionable items, strategize, gather resources and develop a plan to instill a sense of hope, confidence, optimism and self-efficacy so they can realize their career potential. My focus throughout my master’s degree was exploring diverse career development (disability, Indigenous, first-generation and international students) through the lens of student affairs.

Supportive and inclusive employers have the opportunity to create positive and meaningful experiences for students who may need someone to take a chance on them. It is a chance to diversify their team; we all know that diversity adds value.

Pain Points & the Effects of the Pandemic on Students

Students are generally overwhelmed with school and keeping up with other priorities like working, volunteering and extra-curricular opportunities. They often wonder how to be competitive for programs/jobs when they feel they are behind their peers in terms of experiences. The pandemic made it challenging to engage in networking opportunities, such as connecting with professors and employers to foster meaningful conversations. It also took time to adjust to the reliance on technology for academic and work tasks traditionally done in person. Now, everyone is adapting yet again to in-person learning and work environments. They may need to consider more travel time to various in-person appointments and engagements, which didn’t happen as much in the last couple of years.

Transitioning from School-to-Work

In the last two years, our team researched, developed and launched resources to guide students in the transition to work. We now have website content, a downloadable tip sheet, a customizable workshop, and one-on-one support to help students with this transition. During the pandemic, we offered captioned and recorded versions of our live webinars on topics such as virtual interviews, networking and career fairs to equip students with tools to navigate virtual recruitment practices. 

Acknowledging, validating and normalizing student concerns is often a starting point for many conversations about transitioning to work. Several students identify with “imposter syndrome,” where they may not feel capable or confident in the role they landed, creating dissonance between their perceived potential and their actual potential. This can happen for various reasons, including diversity identification; therefore, it is valuable for employers to have inclusive training plans, mentoring (matched to employee) and opportunities to check in throughout the first few weeks to foster belonging in the workplace.

How Employers Can Help Support Students

Students with the opportunity to have a mentor at work often tell me how valuable it is to know they have a point person for questions as they transition to their roles. Transitioning from school to work is a great life experience — be kind, be patient and offer support so that students don’t feel like they always have to ask (sometimes they don’t know it’s okay to ask!). For example, ask every employee during the onboarding process if they have accommodation requests; that way, those with accommodation needs will feel included and supported in the hiring process. It will go a long way in building morale and confidence for new employees, which in turn produces a positive company culture. Leverage the digital expertise of Gen Z as our virtual/hybrid work environments evolve.

Connecting With Top Student Talent

The best way is to diversify what employers may consider a “top” student. It’s not always academic achievements or workplace achievements that make a student a great addition; life experiences also count. Consider the students’ potential — maybe they haven’t had the same opportunities as others yet. 

Take a holistic approach to the application process and ensure it is inclusive and accessible. Some students may be in a program different from their career interests but engaging in self-learning opportunities because they’ve found what they are passionate about well into their undergrad. This demonstrates a commitment to finishing what they started and the initiative to find other learning or experiential opportunities, skills and qualities relevant in the workplace. 

Invest time to train, mentor and foster a culture of inclusion in the workplace not only to attract but also to retain students who may end up as top employees. Some wonderful colleagues across our campus can work with employers to set up company recruitment events, information sessions, coffee chats, etc., and participate in career fairs to get to know our students beyond their application.

Advice For Peer Career Educators

One of my mentors told me many years ago that “career counsellors never stop their career development.” I’ve found that to be true, and it’s advice I pass on to others. New trends, technology and approaches continually shape how we work with our clients. Carve out time for your professional development; watch webinars, read articles, attend conferences, take a course, join professional networks, find a mentor — whatever you find helpful for your practice. Build your network to include a diverse range of contacts.

Final Thoughts

Careers are a journey; they take time to build, grow and develop. It’s essential to choose a direction, not a destination — this leaves more options open for you and optimizes your chances for success. It takes patience, persistence and perseverance. Set goals, build your network and have a parallel plan. These things are all part of building your career resilience. 

You are not alone; You will get there.

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!

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