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The Future of Work: AI Transforms Career Progression

What is the shelf life of your professional skills? According to research, not very long. In fact, one in three skills from an average 2017 job posting in IT, finance, or sales is obsolete due to continued digital innovation. If that stat doesn’t shock you, it should. The skills we have today are expiring fast, with some experts estimating their life expectancy at just two to three years.

While we can’t place blame solely on the global COVID-19 pandemic, it and other world events have accelerated us toward an environment of unrelenting business transformation and permanently pixelated work arrangements. Employers must now prioritize a more inclusive, purpose-driven culture through broader strategic skilling investments to retain and attract top talent.

Leveraging AI for skill proximity

As our skills become increasingly outdated, new skills will replace them. So, how can employees expect to excel in their careers when today’s business landscape is continuously evolving? It boils down to one word: visibility. A barrier many employees face in the workplace is a lack of visibility into career advancement opportunities. Employees are also largely unaware of the resources and connections available to help them achieve their career goals. This obstacle stems, in part, from a prolonged debate regarding who within a business owns career development. Difficulties aligning the needs and wants of the employee with those of the organization has also contributed to the issue.

Through skills proximity, employers can provide greater visibility. Companies should prioritize an employee’s distance between skills and identify how skills correlate to expedite development. If businesses can find a balance between where employees want to take their careers and where they might be able to take their careers within the organization, they can recognize and foster the skills needed to help them grow.

AI technology has a role to play here. For employees to proactively pursue a growth plan that accelerates career mobility, we need to leverage AI to make skills data and qualification information readily available. Resurfacing relevant learning content and development opportunities is also paramount to an employee’s future success. Done right, it can deliver a broad range of business benefits too. Improved organizational agility and workforce productivity, as well as increased transparency and DE&I, are all advantages attributed to AI.

In addition to AI technology, learning and development content is another tool necessary to ignite career development at work. However, human resources and talent leaders first need to identify a way to connect learning and development to performance results–and annual performance reviews aren’t going to cut it.

Employees and businesses each play a role

There is no one size fits all approach to employee engagement. For employers to maximize the success of their training programs, they must first personalize the content available to each employee. Lessons should be adapted according to an employee’s needs, learning style, and preferred delivery method, in turn allowing the employee to more easily navigate their own development and gauge how their skill-maturity aligns with their overall career goals.

Businesses also need to reconsider how they measure learning and development. Self-directed learning pathways require an element of unstructured exploration required for career growth. Currently, however, course completion and time in course are the metrics being utilized. While important, we need to pivot and explore other factors, including course engagement and the focus of content employees primarily seek out.

Ultimately, employee learning is the foundation of high performance and a key motivator for those wanting to stay at their current company. According to LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning report, managers are 3.3x more likely to still be with their company in two years if offered the room to learn and grow. Proof that when you invest in people, they will invest in you.

Employee experience is critical for overall company success

The bottom line is the best way to help employees achieve their full potential is to provide career growth opportunities. An AI-driven platform can provide employees with a unified view of skills. It can provide a measurement of the proximity of different skills. Also, it can provide continuous monitoring of the new skills required for continued career progression. Organizations that utilize comprehensive skills data will have a better understanding of their talent’s existing skillsets. Additionally, they’ll understand what will be required of them in the future to adapt.

Between artificial intelligence and the careful deployment of skills-oriented content, anyone with the intrinsic motivation to grow can benefit.

The One Trait I Have Seen Derail Leaders’ Careers

What makes one leader successful while another “crashes and burns”?

If there is a tipping point in a leader’s career, what would it be?

In my business life, I have seen individuals develop into remarkable leaders and I have seen their colleagues gradually disappear into mediocrity.

The remarkable ones “see” themselves differently. 

They don’t see themselves as an expression of leadership pedagogy.

Derailed leaders find themselves consumed by the “Leadership 101 Rulebook”, relying on theoretical concepts of leadership developed by the consulting and academic community.

They are derailed by applying what OTHERS believe leadership to be and not “making a good choice” about who THEY want to become as a leader.

Leadership isn’t about following the principles espoused by experts, it’s about discovering the path to follow that reflects the individual’s unique qualities and the special circumstances of the organization.

These proven tactics (they worked for me) are simple yet effective in breaking away from expected leadership norms and staying on the rails to become a successful leader.

  1. Throw out your leadership books. You don’t need them. You ARE a leader and the challenge is to discover your way forward on your own. You don’t need anymore schooling on the art – except from me ?
  2. As a substitute for pedagogues,find leader bloggers who have a practical track record of achieving interesting things; who bring a different and contemporary perspective to the challenges of leadership. I like Seth GodinSir Richard Branson  and Guy Kawasaki.
  3. Go ask people what they expect from their leader. Don’t assume what you should do because “they” say what is needed. Talk to the people who report to you and ask them what they need. Serve them and watch the magic.
  4. Lighten up. Relax. Shed the uptight image. Be more open to different ways of doing things. Dump the internal rules and policies in your organization you know are restrictive and make little sense. Your team will see what you are doing and will love you for it.
  5. Keep it honest and real. Don’t bullshit people. They know when you’re doing it and will tag you as a loser, phoney and not worthy of attention. They will check out and leave you a leader with no followers.
  6. Learn some names. It’s the easiest way to connect with people. You remember – they love it – and tell others. Word spreads. Your brand builds. Your “shield to irrelevance” gets stronger as employee loyalty to you grows.
  7. Tell someone to p*** off when someone is trying to undermine you and see you “go down”. Ignore the internal politics of the situation. Stand up and defend yourself. Earn the right to stand among the fearless.
  8. Regularly visit the most demanding customers you have; the ones that constantly whine and snivel about your products and how you treat them. Put yourself in the lions den; show courage, act on their issues and follow up to ensure they are satisfied with what you’ve done.
  9. Buy dinner for a competitor. The market you serve is a community; connect with EVERYONE in it. Accumulate as many perspectives as you can to utilize at an appropriate time.
  10. Talk to someone who has been fired– if they will talk to you. Try and learn the dynamics that eventually led to the person’s exit. This is not a judgement call; rather an opportunity to understand the dynamics at play. Deposit the learning in your employee loyalty file.

There you are: Ten ways to be “see” yourself differently than other leaders and avoid derailment.

Get going.

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Corporate Perks: A Thinly Veiled Disguise

It’s no secret that there is a war going on… a tug of war to be exact. Companies are scrambling to find the best and brightest talent and many are failing miserably. One of the tactics used by many companies is to seduce candidates with profound and presumably attractive perks as a lure for employment. Further, these same tactics can be used as a retention tool with existing employees. In the short-term, perks are novel and with that may be considered interesting, but in the long-run, they are not the enduring enticement employers believe them to be.

Perks come in many shapes and forms and offer varying benefits. Some companies believe that free food, paid travel, and other offerings of the like are exactly what it takes to attract new talent and to keep the talent they have. Simply, this is not a solid long-term solution. What’s worse is when one company attempts to mimic a competitor’s perks in the hopes that they, too, can enjoy the same presumed successes and much to their chagrin it goes sideways and for good reason.

Company perks should be a reflection of the company’s culture and match the values of that specific organization. Since no two companies are alike, it’s an erroneous assumption to believe that what works for one company should work for another.

Give the people what they want

According to a survey conducted by Gallup, a sample population of job seekers were asked what matters most to them about a potential employer. The results of the survey revealed that the respondents were interested in a company’s mission, culture, growth, advancement opportunities, compensation and compelling statements as to why they should consider employment with one organization over another. Not a mention of free food, ping-pong tables or free haircuts was cited by anyone in this survey.

An article on Careertopia, supports the findings revealed by the Gallup survey. The articles goes on to state that the five things job seekers want from an employer are: career growth; work-life balance; fair compensation; great leadership; and alignment with a company’s mission, vision and values. Once again, perks were not mentioned as being an attraction factor.

The Millennials speak

In a different survey conducted by Gallup, they queried 1,700 U.S. workers to determine the attraction factors that appeal to the three employed generations. What the results of this survey revealed is that Millennials, who are presumed to be job hopping know-it-alls, are in actuality seeking out employers that cater to a generation thirsty for opportunities to learn and grow, to be managed by great leadership, to be engrossed in work that is interesting and which offers challenges, along with opportunities to advance their careers. Additionally, the survey results disclosed that a workplace with an informal and “fun” environment was not a high-attraction factor highly coveted by this generation.

Independent of the Gallup survey, Deloitte conducted a Millennial survey which revealed that compensation along with interesting work and work-life balance rose to the top of the results and what is most in demand by Millennials.

The Sandwich generation

For people born between 1965 and 1978, also known as Generation X, they too have stated what is important for them in the workplace. For this group, work-life balance rises to the top of the results. For this generation, the realities of managing parenthood along with taking care of a parent is becoming more commonplace with each passing year. To that end, having a flexible schedule that allows for care-giving is a big attraction factor. Further, Gen X has developed a reputation for being results oriented, problem solvers who seek out work opportunities where their feedback and opinions are welcomed. Free food, indoor putting greens and other perks of this nature were not mentioned.

The thing that really matters

As leadership scrambles around seeking out the next best shiny object to use in their recruitment and retention arsenal, they need to stop and revisit that which is already in front of them: their company culture. This one item is the biggest and best perk any organization can offer to potential and existing employees. This is what attracts and keeps needed talent. People seek out a culture that aligns with their personal beliefs. Servant leadership, 360 feedback, companies that take an interest in their employees’ well-being, opportunities to learn, good communication, respectful interactions, work-life balance, fair pay, and for job seekers, a shortened hiring processes and timely follow-through with communications all matter. All of these are indicative of an organization’s culture and what is being researched by job seekers and responded to by employees.

The irony is that the bells and whistles that many companies buy into are actually not what they need. People place more value on a relationship and a good work opportunity than they do a ping-pong table or free haircut. I guess the old expression is correct… sometimes people can’t see the forest through the trees.

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Pay Inequity

“People don’t care who they hurt or beat. For the love of money.” excerpt from the song “For the Love of Money,” by The O’Jays

Pay inequity. This is a well-worn topic that has been getting a lot of attention, especially over the past few years. Pay inequity is an insidious practice felt by many and one that knows no boundaries. Undeniably, it’s more targeted at certain people based on their gender, age, occupation, education, race, religion, and geography. There are even people in the Hollywood spotlight who have spoken out against this transgressive bias, as even these privileged few have felt the wrath of pay inequity’s duplicitous effects.

Albeit the United States Supreme Court has laws in place to counteract the negative effects of pay inequity, it’s still an all-to-common occurrence, because these laws are not properly enforced with assurances of stringent consequences to the offenders.

You’ve Not Come A Long Way Baby

From 1974 through 2014 the organization, American Association of Women, conducted a research study that found female workers in the United States were garnering salaries (depending on the state) that range from ten percent to thirty-five percent less than their male counterparts doing the same job with the same number of years’ experience. This same organization predicts that based on the current salary trend, it will take another 100 years for this pay gap to close. Further, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States is one of the more egregious countries when it comes to the blatant practice of pay inequity in the gender pay gap.

The topic of pay inequity is not just a matter of gender and race bias, however women, especially those of color, tend to be at the bottom of the pay scale. According to an article in The New York Times, a 2016 research study uncovered the harsh reality of how businesses view work performed by women. The study found that duties completed by women are not perceived as being a value-add in the workplace. Further, some researchers suggest that society places pressure on women to pursue historically lower paying female-oriented jobs versus seeking jobs that men have traditionally held. The conclusion here is that women succumbing to these pressures are being suppressed by a society that is not ready to view women as equals to men in the workplace and beyond. But women are not the only people suffering from this bias.

Other Casualties

The topic of pay inequity goes beyond targeting women; it similarly affects both women and men of color. Valerie Wilson, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, determined that the pay discrepancy between white households and black households in the United States, has widened since 1979. Further the National Women’s Law Center found that the average Latin male and female employee would have to work 73 years longer to collect the same pay as their white male counterparts.

The National Bureau of Economic Research economists, Carruthers and Wanamaker, conducted an investigation to unearth wage discrepancies against black men during the 1940’s. One thing they uncovered was certain localized laws from the 20th century and earlier (mostly practiced in the southern area of the United States) set a precedence where segregated, oppressed black citizens were only allowed access to public schools where very little money was endowed and with that, adequate education was lacking to advance and support post-school employment to better paying jobs. The sad truth is this oppression is still felt and imposed on black working Americans decades later.

Additionally, a combination of age, inexperience and gender can, also, come into play when pay inequity is suspected. As employers are evaluating people entering the workforce and considering their universally under-developed skills, instances of young females being paid less has been reported when compared to males in the same age group.

How Can We Solve This Problem?

As a society, we need to re-examine certain perceptions and traditions, however if we cannot come to a consensus, we will never move the needle forward to solve the problem of pay inequity. To begin, better wide-spread education and public awareness are a must. People need to know where their money is going and how it is being spent. There are many suggested solutions from varying pundits to remedy the pay inequity problem, but they need to see a follow-through on execution. Three such ideas are:

  • Cap CEO pay
  • Increase taxes on the super-rich
  • Penalize companies for shipping jobs abroad

Clearly when it comes to these ideas, we need an aggressive plan of action. Capping CEO salaries, can be done but certain considerations need to be identified first. Who will be the oversight to enforce this? How will the appropriate consequences be determined and how will the policy be imposed? Which CEOs fall into the capped salary structure? Obviously, publically traded companies must disclose their financials, so they’re the obvious choice, but are there other companies which should be considered? Also, setting a limit on CEO exit plans, where all too often, the golden parachute is a ridiculous amount of money. Increasing taxes on the 0.00001 percent of the population that are billionaires is certainly worth a long look. As one solution, a structured plan can be imposed with proper tax levying based on capital gains within identifiable tax brackets. Penalizing companies for sending work abroad is a good idea, but companies need to be properly incentivized to want to keep work here. If companies choose not to observe, then imposing penalties such as paying tariffs, along with increased income tax for business conducted here may need to go into effect. Also, as part of keeping consumers informed, boycotting the company’s products and services may be used as a message to companies that do not comply.

These three options are just a few in a long list of other proposed solutions that have many layers of complexity to consider. With thorough consideration they can work, but a better understanding of the consequences and benefits needs to be carefully weighed first. We need a workable solution with quantifiable outcomes and accountability that incentivizes companies to do the right things and a system in place that oversees the follow-through on execution of the policies. Conjecture is not going to get us to where we need to be. Caring, listening, talking, resolving and taking the appropriate steps to stop pay bias is the right thing to do… of this, I am sure.

 

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TalentCulture Corner Office Talks Marketing, Branding And Innovation With Brian Carter

In this Corner Office article, Cyndy Trivella, Events Manager with TalentCulture, spoke with Brian Carter, Founder and CEO of The Carter Group and Co-author of the best-selling book The Cowbell Principle. Brian is one of the most innovative people in business, and a marketing and branding genius. He went from a state of unemployment to building one of the biggest and most successful non-traditional agencies in the social marketing space.

Cyndy and Brian talked about the struggles people face with marketing, managing their brands, the challenges of business ownership, and value of innovating responsibly. In line with our series, this article will highlight the perspective and experience of someone who has made the move to the “corner office.”

Cyndy: Brian, I can understand why you easily engage with people. You always have a thoughtful way of explaining things and I know our readership will appreciate your comments. So let’s begin with you. What are the top challenges you face in your current role?

Brian: We’re currently facing growth challenges in my consultancy, the Brian Carter Group. We’re hiring and streamlining our back-office, CRM, accounting and client onboarding processes. And because we don’t want to use the typical agency model, we emphasize only having experts doing our clients’ work. So we grow personnel slowly, which means a lot of work for each of our experts. This means morale, communication and efficiency are critical to our clients’ success and to ours. I work directly on our communication systems and make sure we stick to processes that will keep us efficient.

Cyndy: I applaud you for breaking the mold on the stereotypical agency model and it sounds like a lot of high-quality work is being produced because of it.

So in full transparency, the thing that brought you to my attention, well over a year ago, was your book, The Cowbell Principle. You and your co-author, Garrison Wynn, take an interesting approach to offering career advice in the book using the cowbell to help people recognize their unique gifts, their personal brand and how to capitalize on them to find success and happiness. So tell me why is finding and sharing our personal cowbell so difficult?

Brian: A cowbell is a passion, talent or skill that you enjoy and so do others. To start, a lot of people don’t develop their skills, or don’t know what their talent is, or don’t pursue their talent. And sometimes they have emotional hang-ups about the thing they love or pursuing what they love.

Conversely, there are people who believe they should pursue what they love no matter what effect it has on others— that’s not a cowbell either. It has to be something that is valuable to others.

Honestly, a lot of people want to do “good-enough” work and go home and watch Netflix. I feel that temptation, too. Finding or developing a cowbell requires a desire for greatness and a rejection of mediocrity. If you’re not driven by something, or toward something, you won’t excel and you won’t stand out.

Cyndy: What you’ve just said is very impactful, especially about not understanding our skills, strengths and gifts. No doubt, some people struggle with brand identity and marketing their attributes. What’s odd is, I see this same problem affecting companies and in many ways they suffer with the same issues. So why do companies struggle with marketing their brand?

Brian: First off, a lot of companies don’t have a brand, or at least not an exceptional, interesting, developed one. And just because you created a logo doesn’t mean you have a brand. There are a lot of crappy logos out there.

Branding is about identity. Who are you? Who is your company? How are you unique? Just as with the cowbell question, a lot of people don’t have an answer to the uniqueness question. They aren’t doing anything unique.

It takes work to find that thing. Exploration. A commitment to a difficult search within.

And once you find it, the guts to stick to that brand. Not wanting to be all things to all people. Being willing to turn some people off in order to turn others on. That’s scary, it really is. But leaders need to have that kind of courage. And when you don’t have courage, you don’t have a great brand.

Once you have that brand, marketing it is easy — if you know what it is, you should be able to convey it in video and blog posts and other media. If you can’t, you may not really know what your brand is yet.

These days, it’s a good idea to let customer feedback influence how your brand develops. When you see what Facebook posts they like and don’t like, which ones they share or don’t share that tells you which parts of your brand resonate with customers and which ones don’t. If you want your brand to move customers to take action, you need to pay attention to how they respond to it.

Cyndy: Great advice to people and companies, alike. Without a unique value proposition, it’s impossible to distinguish one person or company from another. So I have a last question. If innovation keeps companies relevant and timely, why do some companies and employees believe business should continue as “we’ve always done it that way?”

Brian: You should never innovate just because something is new. The innovation has to be better than the old way, and the benefits of adopting the innovation have to outweigh the costs of changing.

Every time you change how things are done in your company, you create inefficiencies, even if they’re temporary. And you may find that some of your employees just can’t adjust. They might quit or you might have to let them go, which is costly. And further, there’s a cost to replacing them.

So it’s important to ask if the innovation is worth it. Is it going to last? Who is going to have trouble adapting to it? How big of a problem will that be?

It’s always hard to get people to change, and there are smart ways to get them to adapt, so you’ll never be able to avoid the grumbling and inefficiencies that come with change, but make sure the change is worth it before you implement it.

Cyndy: Change, even when for the better, can be scary for many people. Weighing the pros and cons makes a lot of sense when considering the benefits and consequences of innovating.

Brian, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you. Thank you for your time and insights.

Brian: I appreciate it and enjoyed the conversation. Thank you.

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7 Ways Candidates Blow A Phone Interview

I’m consistently amazed by how unaware the average job seeker is of how to establish a positive first impression on a phone interview. I hear the same frustrated complaints from employers of all industries and sizes – that candidates who voluntarily submitted their resumes in hopes of discussing a position they’re supposedly interested in just can’t seem to get it together. Remember when all you needed was a solid resume to be guaranteed a face-to-face interview? For the sake of saving time, resources, and money, recruiters have become much more selective on who they decide to meet in person. In an effort to weed out time-wasters and soft-skill-deficient candidates, recruiters are conducting phone screens to find out who’s off their game.

1. They’re unprepared to take the call.
If you’re 4 beers deep at a Yankees game or trying to wrestle a dirty diaper off a screaming baby, you probably shouldn’t answer a call you don’t recognize. Yet, most of the candidates my recruiting team speaks with are under the impression that it’s better to answer a call you’re not completely prepared for than to miss the call altogether. It’s not. If you find yourself in a situation that isn’t suitable for a professional conversation, don’t pick up. Instead, call back within 24 hours, after you’ve collected your thoughts, can speak confidently, and have locked down a quiet location.

Not to mention, they start timing you from the second they leave a voicemail, which brings me to my next point. If you’re actively looking, you should have a professional voicemail with specific instructions to avoid an unwanted game of phone tag. For example, “Hi, you’ve reached Mark Smith. If you’re calling in regards to my resume, please leave your name and number as well as the best times for me to reach you.”

2. They expect the recruiter to fill in the blanks.
“Hi, what job did I apply for again? What company are you calling on behalf of?” It pains me to admit this, but these responses are the norm when an employer reaches out to a candidate, even for high-level positions. You’re a job seeker, which means you probably apply to several jobs each week. We understand that it’s tough to keep track, but it’s essential – if only for the sake of a recruiter’s sanity – that you start taking notes. Just by picking up the phone and saying, “Hi Wendy, you must be calling in regards to the Customer Service position I applied for last week.” Mind blown.

3. They conduct an unorganized job search.
This goes hand in hand with my last point. Today, it’s not enough to print out a handful of resumes and call it a day. We always recommend that our candidates keep a spreadsheet of every job application they submitted with corresponding dates, company names, and relevant contacts. Or, if you’re a tech wiz, try these awesome job search apps. That way, when the phone rings, you’ll have a handy guide that’ll save you from playing guessing games. Also, it’s important to keep your background information and portfolios within arms reach to provide some quick material for preliminary questions. It says a great deal about your personal brand if you’re prepared to answer a challenging question, and even have some on-hand stats to back up your argument. And for bonus points, don’t forget to browse company websites and connect with HR personnel on LinkedIn. Taking that extra step makes a huge impression.

4. They don’t understand why recruiters really call.
More often than not, recruiters aren’t calling to simply schedule a personal interview; they’re calling to conduct a prescreen. In other words, to decide whether they want to move you forward. Remember all that research you were supposed to do when you applied for the gig? Use it to show recruiters you know something about how their company culture works and that you’re serious about the job.

5. They have a bad “radio personality.”
Phones are tough – all you have to make an impression is your voice. Candidates, especially introverts, often fail to heighten their energy over the phone. Nobody’s expecting you to sound like Ron Burgundy, but you should at the very least sound excited, confident, and prepared. Excessive “umms,” stammering, or sounding like you’re dead inside are huge turnoffs to recruiters. The only way to overcome this obstacle is through practice. Record yourself on any device you have handy, and ask yourself this difficult question: “Would you hire you?” Getting your career narrative down in a way that engages and connects with an employer is essential to winning that face-to-face meeting.

6. They have a weak or unprofessional online presence.
Chances are, if recruiters are interested in what you have to say, they’ll be googling you before then end of your conversation. A half-complete LinkedIn profile or a racy Facebook picture is all it takes to eliminate you from the game. Just last week, one of my recruiters found a candidate with a stellar background and scheduled her for an interview right away. But just minutes before their call, she discovered an R-rated photo online that involved a stripper pole. Needless to say, the recruiter’s mind was made up before the conversation started.

7. They fail to treat a phone interview with the same decorum as they would a personal one.
Just because you didn’t put on a suit or block out time in your day doesn’t mean it counts any less towards your chances of securing the job. Request follow up procedures, send personalized thank you notes, and be sure to highlight any takeaways to reinforce your sincerity. Take it from me, the small things really do matter.

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Finding Value In Social

Social is the great ice breaker. It allows people to get introduced, forge relationships and to share experiences and information, of all types, with ease and speed. The world of social has changed immensely over the past 10 years. When I think back to my early forays into this medium, I’m astonished at how much it has grown; exploded is actually a better description.

Social Is What?

Initially, many people were unsure of how to use social, so it got a bad rap as a nonsensical waste of time. Updates about what someone was eating or watching on T.V. were not highly received, however over time, people learned and adjusted their POV to socially interact in more meaningful ways. It, also, became apparent that social could unlock the door to reaching greater masses of people in meaningful, business ways. This is when opportunities opened up to greater possibilities and social was allowed to assume its place among other media and communications platforms. In the scheme of things, social is still a relatively new medium and undergoing immense evaluation.

Newness aside, social is certainly a highly sought-after communications platform and without a doubt has eclipsed other media sources as the go-to source for a multitude of interactions. In my opinion, the only other two communications platforms that come close to social with a substantial share of audience capture are broadcast and mobile. Where social is concerned, it has done something which few other communications vehicles can boast; it has brought groups of people together in such a way as to unite them with like causes, beliefs, professions, and pursuits. And more to the point, social has given them a platform from which to interact in real-time.

Social As A Public Service

Never before have strangers been united and able to interact in such a familiar way. For example, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children uses Facebook, to issue Amber alerts. Prior to this, Amber alerts were broadcast in more traditional ways using television, radio and on highway signs. Comparatively, these communication vehicles pale by comparison to social. When given the time sensitivity of finding missing children, social has certainly stepped up to the task of disseminating urgent information.

Enter The Marketers

People much more creative than I have found ways to optimize social and turn it into the behemoth it has become. Marketers continue to find ways to manipulate it to their benefit, but its full potential has yet to be recognized. A few years from now, it would not surprise me to see it as a different and very grown-up communications source. The professionals who research it, study it, calculate its value in terms of money, and apply tools to uncover who in the population is paying attention to it, will find ways to help social develop into a more functional and well-rounded medium. Marketers have already found that social can be included as part of a successful integrated marketing solution, when coupled with other more traditional communications.

Social For Employment

Another way that social is being used successfully, is by recruiters and employer branding professionals who are seeking out potential new talent and promoting the employment benefits of their organizations. Given the number of people and job seekers (passive and active) using social, this makes a lot of sense and is a good way to promote jobs and branding. For job seekers, it’s a fine way to network and conduct company research. Social can reveal a lot about a company, and likewise, uncover information about job seekers that may go beyond work history.

It’s Not Perfect And Neither Are We

As with anything, common sense and discretion need to be used when interacting on social media. There is such a thing as TMI (too much information.) This can be an area where it can go wrong for people. In our desire to forge relationships and show the human side of ourselves, we can lose sight of what we say and how we say it.

We have all heard the stories of how someone lost a job because s/he bad mouthed the boss or revealed a proprietary company situation broadcast style on social. What these individuals lost sight of is that social is, well, social. This means that comments published on social becomes public knowledge for anyone to see, and this also includes, photo opps and selfies that reveal too much.

Likewise, social is a great vehicle for promoting products, events and recognitions, but no one wants to be barraged with information that is self-serving. Also using social in high-volume for the purposes of selling is tantamount to telemarketers calling during dinner.

So in closing, some of the nuggets we have learned about social to date are: use it with care and conscience, integrate social with other communications vehicles when it makes sense, be friendly and show your human side but don’t over share, be sensitive to how social is used for the greater good, use it as a resource in job searches and job updates, build relationships and share valuable content and last but not least, have fun and enjoy it for what it offers. And remember, social is the great ice breaker.

Collaborative Learning: Web Conferencing Tools Made Easy

Computer technology has progressed in amazing ways, providing a seemingly endless list of tools to make life, work, and even learning easier and more available. In reference to education, electronic learning (e-learning) successfully utilizes electronic media in the pursuit of higher learning. E-learning takes advantage of such media technologies as typed text, imagery, audio bites, video, and animation to teach its diverse lessons.

Although television and audio/video tapes have been successful e-learning outlets, the internet has revolutionized distance learning, mainly due to its interactive attributes. One of the most popular forms of internet e-learning lies in networking through a variety of platforms which allow the advanced sharing of information. Through such means, collaborative learning can occur which places a group together for the purpose of sharing and interacting, thus increasing learning time and effectiveness while reducing costs. 

Web Conferencing Features

Web conferencing technology is the driving force behind collaborative learning. Meetings, classes, and training sessions that used to only be accessible through person-to-person, telephone, email, or online chats are now available in face-to-face settings from great distances over the internet.

The value of a visual and audio presence will always hold its edge in any learning or training environment. The power to drive home a message relies on an acute ability to offer a winning presentation, and the visual and audio capabilities of web conferencing delivers these qualities to its audiences. 

Benefits of Web Conferencing

Web conferencing, therefore, offers a wide selection of benefits for those pursuing collaborative learning goals. A large number of people can get together from around the world to give and receive information. Through webcams and web microphones, interaction takes place in real time so that ideas, solutions, questions, and answers can all be shared with all who are in attendance.

Web conferencing platforms also allow users to interact through websites, pictures, charts, files, notes, recordings, videos, whiteboards, and more to present what is needed–all through a computer screen. These meetings can also be recorded and experienced over and over again to gain more from the information provided.

Both time and money is also saved through web conferencing technology. Great amounts of time are saved by bypassing travel. Meeting can be set up within minutes, shared through email, text, or phone and attended from wherever there is a computer and internet connection. Not having to travel to distant lands or even across town to attend meetings also saves a lot of expense as well as reduces one’s carbon footprint. 

UberConference Makes It Easy

UberConference is a top web conferencing application that allows its users to partake in stellar audio conference calls. Once the application is loaded, connection is made automatically through a dialup feature. Attendees are then selected and receive an email, text, or call to meet. No registration or PINs are required by attendees to be present at the meeting which has been initiated by the original user. The UberConference app is available for iPhone or Androids as well as computers.

Practically every feature necessary to create and attend a high quality web conference is included in the UberConference software. For instance, a visual overview is provided on every attendee so that everyone can be viewed which drastically reduces confusion of who said what. A variety of filtering features are also included so that users can mute, remove, add, or ‘earmuff’ (temporarily block) other callers. Meetings can even be recorded in a popular MP3 format.

The company of UberConference has taken their service to the next level by merging with Google which has a well established video platform, but suffers from limited voice call participation. The merger allows UberConference, with its limited video abilities, access to Google’s powerful video platform while enhancing it with its wide calling capacity (up to 100 people). The two companies integrate their technologies via the Google Hangouts platform which provides a conferencing experience that excels the expectations of any collaborative learning or other web conferencing requirement. 

Conclusion

The power of the internet has opened a wide and beneficial door for those seeking collaborative learning opportunities. By utilizing the latest web conferencing technologies, such as UberConference, knowledge can be obtained and skills honed easily, conveniently, and without wasting time and money.

(About the Author: Norah Abraham has been a freelance writer since 2005. She attended the University of Boston and graduated with a Bachelor in English Literature. She loves public speaking and motivates people in her own comic style. She loves gadgets and techie stuffs. In her career, she has written dozens of Press Releases, Articles, and Essays.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

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photo credit: Twylo via photopin cc

Soul Search — Then Job Search

Written by career consultant, Maggie Mistal

Most of us assume that the best way to find a job is to look at what’s available in online listings, or to follow someone else’s advice. However, these methods often lead to unfulfilling career choices.

You only need to look at the latest job satisfaction surveys to recognize how unfulfilled most workers feel. For seven straight years, The Conference Board has reported that less than half of U.S. workers are satisfied in their careers. So what can you do to find job satisfaction and fulfillment while still making a great living?

Uncover Your Core Genius

“Core genius” is the special contribution that each of us brings to our professional life. It’s what you are in this world to do that only you can do. It’s the unique package of skills, experiences, passions, interests, talents, abilities and attitude that you possess.

Take my client Laura Rolands. Laura was a hard-working Human Resources executive at Chrysler. She’s also a mom. When Laura’s son was diagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), she got to work and investigated how to best help him with attention strategies at school and in life. Through this experience and through our career coaching work together, Laura realized she had a talent and an interest in helping people with attention issues.

It led Laura to start an attention coaching business shortly after accepting a voluntary buy-out from her position in the automotive industry. Her business is in a relatively new field, focused on coaching people to overcome challenges associate with ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Actually, you don’t need a diagnosis to benefit — anyone who feels overwhelmed or distracted in today’s hyper-connected environment will find value in Laura’s services. Her clients have developed time-saving personal routines, and have improved their academic and business performance.

The Path to a Successful Career Fit

In 10 years of coaching, I have seen that we are each uniquely built to fulfill a specific purpose. And I am proud to have many success stories such as Laura Rolands. However, too often people take their unique talents for granted. In fact, the real challenge is that most people have no idea what their purpose is. That is where I help.

I believe the best way to find your purpose — your core genius — is to conduct a formal Soul Search, and get specific about all the elements of your ideal career. It starts with helping clients assess themselves in 8 essential dimensions, as part of the “Soul Search, Research and Job Search” process I developed.

These elements include: 1) your top interests, 2) key motivators, 3) skills you want to employ, 4) ways you want to contribute, 5) best qualities, 6) best work environment, 7) activities you enjoy most, and 8) salary and benefits.

Soul Search Before Job Search

By working through exercises and self-reflection questions, we prioritize what’s most important and brainstorm career possibilities that match those elements. You can gain even deeper clarity with my downloadable (PDF) Soul Search workbook.

This workbook contains over 30 pages of exercises to help professionals uncover the eight core elements of your core genius. The insights developed from each exercise are designed to correspond with a section of your own personalized career guide. This helps you easily organize and interpret the information as the basis for brainstorming new career possibilities and making sound decisions about the best options for you.

So stop looking at want ads and instead start talking to anyone and everyone about the ways you are already of service. Carefully process all of that input, and you’ll see viable new options ahead. Take seriously the value you bring to the table, and (like Laura Rolands) believe that you can get paid to deliver it. Let others know about the high-value service you are prepared to provide. Then deliver it consistently and professionally. Soon, you’ll find you have more than enough work in your new role — and you’ll be making a living while loving what you do.

Have You Discovered Your Core Genius?

Are you in touch with your core career strengths? What steps did you take to gain that awareness? And how have you applied it to your career? Share your thoughts in the comments area.

Maggie Mistal(About the Author: CNN dubbed Maggie Mistal “one of the nation’s best-known career coaches.” A former Learning & Development executive at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, she is a certified life purpose and career coach who, for seven years, hosted “Making a Living with Maggie” on SiriusXM, and now airs a monthly podcast on iTunes. Maggie has been featured across major media, including NBC’s Today Show, Fox Business, CNN and The New York Times. Connect with Maggie on Twitter, or LinkedIn or Facebook.)

(Editor’s Note: For a limited time, in conjunction with her February 2014 appearance at #TChat Events, Maggie is offering special pricing for her “Soul Search” career planning workbook to anyone who mentions #TChat when contacting her. Don’t miss this opportunity to get a fresh perspective on your core genius!)

(Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Careers: Better Choices Mean Better Business #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Are you looking for full Storify highlights + resource links from this week’s #TChat Events? Read the #TChat Recap: “Bring Your ‘Genius’ to Work.“)

Happiness at work
. Passion for your profession. Finding your bliss.

These days, we hear a lot about the importance of being emotionally connected with our careers.

Sounds like a nice idea — but it’s much more than that. Research shows that it’s a key driver of professional performance. It’s also an essential aspect of employee engagement. Yet statistics show that, for most of us, it remains an elusive goal.

Bucking the Trend

This week at #TChat Events, we’ll look at how each of us can defy those statistics by gaining better understanding of our individual strengths and motivations — and by putting those insights to work through better career choices.

We’ll also look at why it’s smart for business to encourage this kind of investigation and discovery.

And who better to help lead this discussion than career management expert, Maggie Mistal? Before establishing herself as the personality behind the long-running SiriusXM radio show, “Making A Living,” Maggie was Director of Learning & Development at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Also joining us is Laura Rolands, a former HR executive at Chrysler, who, with Maggie’s guidance, launched a rewarding practice as an ADHD coach.

Sneak Peek: Finding Your “Career Core”

To frame this week’s events, I spoke briefly with both Maggie and Laura about how and why it pays for all of us to pursue careers that leverage our strengths. Watch the hangout now:

This discussion has potential to help each of us find more fulfilling work lives, while helping organizations develop more effective talent strategies. So join the #TChat crowd this week to share your ideas and opinions with other “world of work” professionals!

#TChat Events: Claiming Your “Core” Career

#TChat Radio — Wed, Feb 5 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

TChatRadio_logo_020813Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Maggie Mistal and Laura Rolands critical about how to find and claim your core career “genius.” Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Feb 5 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community, in a live chat moderated by Dr. Nancy Rubin.

Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these 5 related questions:

Q1: How can we align our career aspirations with our strengths?
Q2: When a job isn’t fulfilling, what can we do to take charge of our career?
Q3: How can we continually identify and develop skills and talents?
Q4: What value does business gain from encouraging “career genius” in employees?
Q5: How can new technology help us redirect and manage our careers?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and on our new G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Tech Recruiting: Skilling Up to Fill the Middle #TChat Recap

(Editor’s Note: Looking for details of this week’s #TChat Events? See the Storify slideshow and resource links at the end of this post. And to learn how you can win this week’s Pebble Smartwatch giveaway, visit Dice.)

I remember when I was choosing the cover art for my book, Tech Job Hunt Handbook. I couldn’t help thinking, “How am I going to fill-in the middle?”

That’s the toughest part. Filling the middle. Developing coherent career guidance for technical professionals – from the job search, to the interview, to the hire.

But I did it. And in the process, I learned so much about how technology touches every facet of our lives, how rapidly the world of work is changing, and how important it is to stay relevant while competing for specialized jobs in areas like cloud computing, big data and mobile application development.

Retooling your skills and re-branding yourself is essential, whether you’re trying to be more effective in your current tech job — or seeking a new professional challenge — or recruiting to fill those specialized technical roles. And of course, retooling can’t be a one-shot deal. It has to be an ongoing process.

Continuous Commitment Counts

As the economy inches back, millions of people are quitting their jobs, confident they can find an attractive career next-step. These professionals are open to competent help. But even with today’s fluid, open-for-business talent pool, “filling the middle” is no easy task.

In a recent hiring survey of recruiters and hiring managers, Dice found that 5 of the 12 most challenging cities for tech recruiting are in the Midwest. Why? They’re “tough recruiting locations based on a combination of supply and demand issues.”

Frontline recruiting reports like that are a call-to-action for anyone located in “the middle,” as well as those on both coasts. Whatever your location, a winning hiring strategy takes marketing savvy, selling skills and “in the know” awareness of the technical positions you’re trying to close.

This week’s #TChat Events with Shravan Goli, President of Dice, and Sara Fleischman, Senior Technical Recruiter at Concur reinforced my conviction that “filling the middle” requires ongoing commitment, at two levels:

1) Keep Skilling Up. In today’s workplace, tech industry recruiters may feel more secure than others. But the pace of innovation is relentless — it challenging us all to stay ahead of the curve. It’s not just about matching job candidates step-for-step. It’s about proving your strength in your  role, and out-pacing other recruiters who are determined to stay “in the know.”

2) Keep Filling Up. As a tech-savvy recruiter, you may have an edge. But tech lingo isn’t the whole package. You add value by staying aware of salary trends and specifics about how your company, city and regional amenities compare. You’ll also build stronger relationships if you’re always up-to-date with practical guidance, tools and recommendations that help candidates assess new opportunities, get noticed by the right people, ace interviews and negotiate successfully.

Over time, recruiters with that kind of commitment build a reputation as resourceful “go to” career advisors. A talent pipeline eventually follows. And that’s what I call filling the middle with the right stuff.

Dice smartwatch giveaway for #TChat participantsShare Your Ideas — Win a Smartwatch!

Thanks to everyone who joined this week’s #TChat Events. We value your ideas. In fact, Dice is so interested in your input that they’re giving away a cool Pebble Smartwatch to a lucky participant!

Entering is easy. Just share your tech recruiting ideas or questions with Dice by Friday, February 7th. Then find out who wins at #TChat on Wednesday February 12th! (See details and enter now.)

#TChat Week-In-Review: How to Find Top Tech Talent

Shravan Goli Sara Fleischman (2)

See the Preview Post now

SAT 1/25:
#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager, Tim McDonald, framed the week’s topic in a post featuring two “sneak peek” hangouts with guests, Shravan Goli and Sara Fleischman. See the #TChat Preview now: “Finding Tech Talent to Fuel the Future

SUN 1/26:
Forbes.com Post:
In her weekly Forbes column, TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro, offered guidance based on her personal experience as a tech industry talent strategist. Read “How Leaders Hire Top Tech Talent.

RELATED POSTS:

What Makes Tech Talent Tick?” — by Dr. Nancy Rubin
Tech Pros’ Salaries, Confidence Rise” — January Trend Report by Dice

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio replay

WED 1/29:
#TChat Radio: Host Meghan M. Biro talked with Shravan Goli, and Sara Fleischman about what it takes to recruit tech talent in today’s competitive environment. Listen to the #TChat Radio replay now

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Shravan, and Sara joined the TalentCulture community on the #TChat Twitter stream for a dynamic open conversation, centered on 5 related questions.

See highlights in the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: Finding Tech Talent to Fuel the Future

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/finding-tech-talent-to-fuel-the-future.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Shravan Goli, and Sara Fleischman for sharing your perspectives on tech recruiting tools, techniques and trends. We value your time and your expertise!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about tech recruiting issues? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week at #TChat Events, we’ll look at how each of us can be more effective at managing our careers, with one of the nation’s best known career coaches, Maggie Mistal, and one of her clients, Laura Rolands. So save the date, Wednesday, February 5, and prepare to raise your professional game!

Meanwhile, the TalentCulture conversation continues daily on the #TChat Twitter stream, our NEW Google+ community, and elsewhere on social media.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Image Credit: Top Student Challenges

What Makes Tech Talent Tick?

The problem is crystal clear. But the solution is not as obvious.

In today’s digitally driven world, skilled IT professionals are in short supply. It’s tougher than ever for employers to build the tech teams they need for successful innovation. But just how tough is it?

Tech Hiring By The Numbers

According to research by Microsoft, the IT labor shortage is alarming. A 2012 survey on the state of U.S. technical talent estimates that the number of new jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree in computer science grows each year by 122,300 openings.

In a tough economic climate, that kind of healthy job growth seems like good news. But here’s the rest of the story: The average number of computer science graduates each year is only 59,731. That’s less than half of new job demand.

infographic_tech_hiring_v5.0

See infographic at Dice.com

The survey also uncovered discrepancies between what employers think engineers find attractive in a job, and what engineers actually want. For example:

 89% of software engineers said they applied for 2 jobs or less in the 5 years prior to the survey. This relatively low turnover rate helps explain why it’s so difficult to find and engage experienced software engineers. (Although, in 2014, the picture is no longer as stable. According to a recent Dice.com survey, more than 40% of companies say they’ve lost tech staff in the past 6 months, compared to 30% a year ago.)

  64% of recruiters believe that the opportunity to work with interesting technology is the primary reason software engineers are motivated to consider a new job. But engineers disagree. In fact, less than 10% of those surveyed say cutting-edge technology is a key reason to accept a new position.

  Top reasons engineers respond to recruiter outreach:
45% — Position is relevant to their background;
13% — Interest in the company;
10% — Competitive compensation.
(These priorities also seem to be shifting in 2014. According to Dice.com research, 75% of tech workers who changed jobs recently were motivated primarily by higher compensation.)

To learn more about what motivates technology professionals, consider this snapshot from a Dice survey conducted in 2011:

What Tech Professionals Want in Current Job

Motives Matter For Acquisition and Retention

Knowing what matters to technical professionals is vital to the recruitment process. But it’s just as important for successful workforce retention.

Technical Talent Employer Retention strategeis

 

 

Building Tech Teams That Last

What’s the best approach to finding, hiring and retaining a technical team that will help your business scale? Chris Lea outlined a time-tested 3-step path at the 2011 Future of Web Apps Conference:

Step 1: Find Talent

  Determine the skills you need
  Spend time on social media to see who shares advice and insights. Build relationships
  Review email lists and attend tech meetups to locate and connect with attractive candidates
  Maintain a dedicated ‘tech blog,” separate from your company’s primary blog

Step 2: Hire Talent

  Can they do the job?
  Are they the right fit for the company?

Step 3: Keep Talent

  Commit to a trial period, so both parties have a chance to determine the fit
  Make sure people take vacation periodically — preferably away from a computer

Chris Lea’s retention “must haves” are echoed by other tech recruiting experts in 5 Smart Ways to Retain Top Tech Talent:

  The more closely your job requirements match the employee’s skills, goals and values, the more likely employees will want to stay. Hire for fit, and retention will follow.
  Start strong. Retention efforts should begin during onboarding.
  Avoid burnout. Evaluate project workflows and organizational structure. Set clear expectations about duties and develop equitable workloads. Actively encourage work-life balance.
  Regularly assess employee engagement and motivation. Gather insight to guide development paths and workforce strategies.
  Commit to sustainability at a corporate level. The connection between innovation, community and the environment is very important to many technology professionals.

What Works For You?

As the hiring landscape grows increasingly competitive, creative acquisition and retention strategies can give your organization an advantage.

Is your company struggling to hire new tech talent? Are you losing IT employees you want to retain? Have you tried new approaches? What works for you? Share your comments below.

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Finding Tech Talent to Fuel the Future #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Looking for full highlights and resource links from this week’s #TChat Events? Read the #TChat Recap: “Tech Recruiting: Skilling Up to Fill the Middle.“)

Recently, we’ve seen the rise of the “digital detox” — when individuals temporarily go “off the grid” to reconnect with life apart from technology.

But of course, it’s impossible to escape fully anymore. Technology is now deeply embedded in daily life — its pervasiveness reaches far and wide. And not surprisingly, as innovation continues at full speed, competition for skilled technical talent is more fierce than ever.

How can employers stay ahead of that curve? And what should recruiters do to help lead the way in attracting technology rockstars?

That’s the topic we’re tackling at #TChat Events this week, with Shravan Goli, President of Dice, The Career Hub For Tech, and Sara Fleischman, Senior Technical Recruiter at Concur.

Sneak Peeks: Facing Tech Recruiting Challenges

To frame this week’s events, I spoke briefly with both Shravan and Sara about how businesses can recruit effectively in today’s environment. Shravan suggested three success factors in an audio hangout:

And Sara added her perspective as a technology recruiter:

Is your organization feeling the impact of the tech talent shortage? How are you addressing this? What does this trend mean for business innovation, overall? Join us this week to discuss your ideas and opinions with the #TChat crowd.

Publication1Share Your Insights, Win a Smartwatch!

As extra incentive to submit your best ideas, everyone who participates in #TChat Events this week will be eligible to win a cool Pebble Smartwatch from Dice! After the the #TChat Radio Show and #TChat Twitter Dice shared details about how to enter before the Feb 7th deadline. See details now!

#TChat Events: Tech Recruiting In a World of Pervasive Technology

#TChat Radio — Wed, Jan 29 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Shravan Goli and Sara Fleischman about critical tech recruiting issues and trends. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Jan 29 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, for a live discussion with the entire TalentCulture community.

Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these 5 related questions:

Q1: How do tech recruiters stay skilled up and “in the know”?
Q2: Why is finding tech talent so difficult?
Q3: How do recruiters tap into high-tech hot spots to find tech talent?
Q4: How do employers create a culture that attracts skilled tech talent?
Q5: What recruiting technologies appeal to high-tech professionals?

We look forward to hearing your ideas and opinions, as talent-minded professionals who care about recruiting issues and trends.

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and on our LinkedIn Discussion Group. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Managerial Magnets: Becoming A Leader Others Want To Follow

Written by Roberta Matuson

Are you a manager who’s ready for a professional breakthrough? Then it’s time to become the kind leader people will do anything to work for. The kind of leader who draws others to you. It’s time to become a magnetic leader.

Contrary to popular belief, great leaders aren’t born that way. Most are developed, coached and mentored throughout their careers. But why wait for someone else to guide you? Magnetic role models are all around us. So, no matter what your title or level of experience, you can observe more closely and strengthen your own skill set anytime.

Here are 5 best practices to help you get started:

1) Put Your Team First

When in doubt, put the interests of your employees ahead of your own. For example, it’s tempting to volunteer your department to organize this year’s charity event. After all, it would be great PR for you and the rest of your team. But everyone has been working on weekends to complete a critical project on time and within budget. They’re already burned out.

This is a good time to take a pass. Your team needs a break. Let them recharge. There will always be other volunteer opportunities.

2) Go to Bat for Your Employees

Let’s say you’ve been discussing a potential reorganization with your superiors. However, upon reflection, you believe the timing isn’t right for your organization to make that move. You feel uncomfortable asking your manager to reconsider the current plan.

Be bold. Let your boss know you’ve had a change of heart. Explain your rationale, and be prepared to offer alternative solutions. Regardless of the outcome, your employees will eventually figure out that you had the courage to push back when others would have retreated. Those who walk through the fire with you will stick by your side through thick or thin.

3) Learn to “Manage Up”

In my book, Suddenly in Charge, I explain that managing up isn’t about brown-nosing. It’s about developing strong relationships with those above you and throughout the organization, so you can get your people the resources they need to perform well.

In every company, there are people who are somehow able to get what they need while everyone else waits on the sidelines. These people have taken the time to build strong relationships up and down the organization. You can bet these resourceful leaders have no problem keeping top talent on their team. Observe how they work — and if an opportunity presents itself, ask for some tips.

4) Make Yourself Visible and Accessible

Magnetic leaders are visible both inside and outside their organization. Get involved in a professional association. Whenever possible, step up and volunteer to take a leadership position. You’ll be seen as a leader in your field, based on that affiliation. Don’t be surprised if others come to you seeking advice or a position on your team.

5) Treat People the Way You’d Like to be Treated

I bet you’ve heard this one before, right? It seems so obvious — but when is the last time you saw someone in a managerial role who consistently follows this creed?

In my book, Talent Magnetism, I tell the story of magnetic leader, Chris Patterson, CEO of Interchanges, who took it upon himself to help an employee who was in crisis. Patterson made it his personal mission to provide his employee with the best care possible during a life-threatening illness. He did so with compassion and conviction. This is a guy who is magnetic in every way.

Magnetic leaders are highly valued by their organizations — and are compensated accordingly. But it’s not just a reward for their effort and contributions to corporate objectives. Their employers know that leaders who display these characteristics are highly attractive to competitive organizations.

Do you know role models who demonstrate the value of magnetic leadership? What do they do that makes them so attractive to others in their professional sphere? Please share your experiences and ideas in the comments area.

Roberta-Matuson-Photo(About the Author: Roberta Matuson, The Talent Maximizer®, is the President of Matuson Consulting, a firm that helps organizations achieve dramatic growth and market leadership through the maximization of talent. Her new book, Talent Magnetism, is available for download or purchase at Amazon.com. Connect with Roberta on Twitter or on LinkedIn.)

(Editor’s Note: This post is adapted from Brazen Life, with permission. Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, it offers edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!)

(Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Rebecca Krebs via Flickr

HR Flashback: The Way We Worked

(Editor’s Note: Want to learn more from Kevin and TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro about the transformation of HR and workplace learning? Listen to their CLO Magazine on-demand webinar.)

“What do you do?” asked my airport shuttle driver (I’ll call him Ben).

“I work for an HR software company,” I answered.

He nodded. “HR, huh? I remember when I worked in personnel.”

“Personnel.” That term got my attention — precursor to the “human resources” profession we know today. I asked Ben about his experience, and he told me about his days at Polaroid in the Boston area during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

By my estimates, Ben is in his early 60s — a fit man with short salt-and-pepper hair, a neatly trimmed matching goatee, and an infectious storytelling style.

Back in his Polaroid days he worked the line that manufactured the shutterfly housing for a new camera at the time. Two years later he was offered a personnel job.

“I thought I was going to have my own corner office, enjoy long lunches and play golf with the management team,” he told me, shaking his head. “I was 21 years old and extremely naïve. I had no idea the job would be as hard as it was.”

“HR is no free lunch. Not then, not now,” I said.

“Well, it certainly wasn’t then, that’s for damn sure,” he said.

He managed and staffed the “C shift” (11 pm to 7 am  — otherwise known as the graveyard) one of the hardest shifts to work, much less staff and manage. He had to continually wake up his team members as they dozed off on the job.

“C shift” workers were some of Boston’s poorest whites and minorities who had the basic skills to do the job. Ben had to interview, screen and hire 50 people a week for months, until he had a few hundred employees to help roll-out the new cameras.

And Ben managed it all manually.

“We had no HR software or systems,” he explained. “I was going through 150 to 200 applicants per week to hit my 50 target. We had a brief interview process and a skills proficiency test. Then there were tons of forms for each new employee, and all had to be completed in triplicate. There were stuffed file folders and cabinets that cornered me daily in my tiny office.”

“Mercy me,” I replied.

He continued. “Not only that. The new hire trainings were intensive and on-the-job, complete with product manuals that weighed about 100 pounds each. Needless to say, I got very close to the line I used to work with and the new line employees I was staffing for. These people struggled financially, had families to care for. Many were single moms. They had all sorts of personal stress outside of work that affected productivity and quality, but we managed to meet line quota every week.”

“Fascinating,” I said. “And painful.”

“Yes, it was. One of the hardest jobs I ever had.”

“It sounds like it,” I said. “I’ve only played HR on TV.”

He laughed. I sat fascinated by the conversation and the contrast to today. The whole time we talked, with my WiFi hotspot booted, I had logged into my company’s expense report system to review and approve reports.

Then I logged into our collaborative community platform to review some product marketing collateral and the latest entries in our organization’s global contest to name our corporate intranet. What a great way to promote creativity, diversity of thought and culture in a company that’s recently moved through multiple acquisitions, and now has multiple product lines and multiple office locations and many remote contributors.

There we all were, naming the very thing that kept us connected, and I was accessing it all from my tablet of choice.

I logged off, closed my iPad, and sighed audibly. Thank goodness we have today’s technology and software systems at our fingertips, I thought. It’s all about moving from the way we worked to the way we work now — complete with interconnected, platform agnostic devices tethered by the invisible magic of cellular and WiFi science.

Mobile recruiting has seen unprecedented recent growth, and now mobile screening, assessing, hiring, onboarding, training, learning, developing, recognizing, rewarding, and more are part of the “world of work” master plan — critical to an increasingly global, dispersed workforce of full-time, part-time and contract employees.

Again, thank goodness. Think about the old model of snail-mail offer letters, conference room paperwork and storage space stacked to the ceiling with file box archives. So horribly inefficient and administratively painful. Even e-mail has become cumbersome for many in today’s workplace, (although it’s not being replaced anytime soon.)

Fortunately though, highly configurable, mobile-friendly work spaces and systems are here. They mirror our day-to-day work experience and allow us to access the data we need, whenever its needed.

Your corner office is nestled comfortably in the heart of your favorite mobile device. I think Ben would like it that way.

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Recruiting: Going Mobile By Demand? #TChat Recap

This week at #TChat Events, the TalentCulture community explored the emerging role of mobile recruiting in today’s world of work.

First, let’s clarify — what does the term “mobile recruiting” mean? CareerBuilder defines it this way:

“The ability to market to prospective talent with or on a mobile device. More importantly, mobile recruiting is about the opportunity to connect with job seekers anywhere, and at any time; provide a better candidate experience; streamline your own process; and engage job seekers in entirely new and unique ways.”

It sounds like a lofty goal — but how do we get there from here? And how are employers overcoming key issues in implementing mobile strategies? To keep the conversation grounded, we welcomed two experts in talent acquisition:

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, Founder and Chief Blogger at Blogging4Jobs and
Rayanne Thorn, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at Technomedia, global talent management solutions provider.

(Editor’s Note: See highlights from the #TChat events and related resource links at the end of this post.)

Mobile Is Everywhere — Why Isn’t Mobile Recruiting?

Many #TChat participants agreed that mobile recruiting is becoming a necessity, as individuals increasingly rely on smart phones and tablets to connect with information and people in our personal and professional lives.

The convenience of mobile access is rapidly translating into job search behaviors, even though many employers haven’t yet optimized their websites for mobile access. SimplyHired says that the number of workers looking for jobs via mobile devices has skyrocketed, from 2.3 million to 9.3 million in the past year. Talemetry, says that 70% of job seekers are using mobile platforms, while Beyond.com estimates even higher, at 77%. (See the article and infographic.)

However, as the Wall Street Journal explained earlier this year, most companies aren’t moving fast enough. According to a recent CareerBuilder study, only 20% of Fortune 500 companies have mobile-optimized career sites. What is everyone waiting for? Read the full report, “Trends in Mobile Adoption: An Analysis of Mobile Recruitment Efforts Across Industries.”

Mobile Excellence: What Does It Look Like?

So, what does it take for employers to be “mobile recruitment ready”? Ideally, it starts with a website that is that is optimized for mobile interaction. SnapHop, a company that provides mobile talent management solutions, says these elements are necessary for a great candidate experience:

Support for all mobile platforms — access to sites from anywhere using, any mobile device;
Location awareness — automatically sense the candidate’s location and filter information accordingly;
Personalization — tailor information and recommendations by uncovering candidate preferences;
Social media presence — leverage social channels to connect with candidates and share relevant, timely content;
Responsive design — ensure that on all platforms, content is easy to skim and consume, and navigation flows with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling.

Upward Mobility: Advantages of Mobile Recruitment

If you’re still not convinced about the business case for mobile recruitment, CareerBuilder for Employers developed a helpful presentation that outlines key issues and opportunities:

And what did the #TChat crowd say about the pros and cons of mobile recruiting? Check the highlights slideshow and other resource links below for great facts, real-world stories and ideas from across the TalentCulture community.

#TChat Week-In-Review: Mobile Devices + Recruiting = Perfect Match?

Jessica Miller Merrell

Watch the preview hangout now

SAT 10/26:

#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald framed this week’s topic in a post that featured a brief G+ Hangout video with one of our guests, Jessica Miller-Merrell, Read the Preview: “Mobile Devices + Recruiting = Perfect Match?

SUN 10/27:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro recommended ways that employers can gain business advantage by embracing mobile strategies. Read: “5 Ways To Use Mobile To Recruit Top Talent.”

MON 10/28:

Related Post: Dan Newman, author of Millennial CEO, offered a broad perspective on the changing of the leadership guard — and its implications for business. Read: “Another Kind of Revolution: Social, Mobile, Cloud.

WED 10/30:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio show now

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with guests Jessica Miller-Merrell and Rayanne Thorn about how mobile adoption is revolutionizing the recruiting process today’s world of work. Listen to the radio recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and guests moved over to the #TChat Twitter stream as I led the TalentCulture community through a conversation focused on 5 key questions. For highlights, check the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: Recruiting Is Rockin’ Mobile Platforms

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-recruiting-is-rockin-mobile-at-lea.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Jessica Miller-Merrell and Rayanne Thorn for helping us explore the potential of mobile platforms in the recruiting process. Your knowledge and passion are infectuous!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about mobile recruiting trends or issues? We’d love to share your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, we dive into another fascinating topic — the role of social media in building brand influence. So save the date (November 6) for another #TChat double-header!

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and your thoughts are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: GailJadeHamilton via Flickr

25 Jobs in One Career? Brace Yourselves

Recently, I participated in an unsettling Twitter chat, focused on career planning.

Usually that’s not a controversial topic, but this particular discussion disturbed many participants. Why? Because we projected the number of jobs a typical Millennial will accumulate over the span of a career in our so-called “New Economy.”

Do The Math

Consider these estimates from reputable sources:

By 2020, 40-50% of all income-producing work will be performed by short-term contractors, freelance workers and “SuperTemps
The length of a career already averages 48 years — by 2020 it will be 50+ years
Today, the average time-in-service for a Millennial at any company is 2.6 years

Admittedly, I am not really good at math. But this data is pretty conclusive…

At 2.6 years per job, over 50+ years in the workforce, plus several temp assignments and contracts means that Gen Y can expect to hold 20-25 jobs over the course of a career.

Here’s the problem… or, rather, several problems:

No One Told Gen Y

Those statistics genuinely scared #InternPro participants — most of whom are Millennials. No one had done the math. Plus, between parents, educators and old-school career experts, there seems to be a halo effect surrounding an old paradigm: lifetime employment. Many Millennials seem to believe that once they graduate and get that first job, their job search is effectively over. They are unprepared for the fact that it’s really just the beginning of a continuous process.

Traditional Higher Education Hasn’t Noticed

Many higher education stalwarts — not exactly known for quickly adapting to changing economies and markets — still feature old-school theory taught by tenured professors who’ve never held a position outside academia. Instead of teaching the skills that will be in demand in the “Freelance Economy,” we’re still shoving 1970’s courses and curriculum down the throats of unsuspecting students. Higher education must change fundamentally. To remain relevant, academics must start emphasizing transferable, marketable career skills.

We Aren’t Entrepreneurial Enough

Successful SuperTemps, solopreneurs and freelancers rely on one skill above all else: entrepreneurism. Why? Because, going forward, our livelihood depends on our ability to sell our skills, our value proposition and our niche — continuously.

In fact, with the average duration of a job search at about 40 weeks, there will almost never be a time when we’re not selling… us.

Old School Recruiters Haven’t Adapted

It doesn’t help that recruiters still haven’t caught-on. Old-school recruiters, unwilling to accept new workforce trends, discount job seekers whose resumes show they move every two to three years. They still consider this “job-hopping” — and many will not interview candidates with this tendency. They are labeled “disloyal” and a “long-term risk”.

Here’s the reality: between economic conditions, Gen Y’s penchant for moving on when they become restless or feel undervalued, and the inevitable entrepreneurial spirit that is becoming pervasive among job seekers, recruiters who stick to this now antiquated “rule” will lose out on high-quality talent. In the meantime, their competitors will thrive.

Fasten Your Career Path Seatbelts

Without a doubt, our new economy is already here. Members of Gen Y who cling to old standards — through fear and/or influence by parents, higher education and recruiters — will clearly continue to struggle. They will continue to do as trained — and will continue looking for jobs that no longer exist.

However, young professionals who recognize the new workplace for what it is, and learn the career skills required to win…

Strategic planning
Goal setting
Sales and digital marketing
Effective follow-up
Customer service
Integrity-based self-promotion

…will not only embrace the new economy, they will surround themselves with success.

What’s your reaction to the “average” career path of the future? How would you suggest that Millennials prepare to manage their careers more successfully? Share your thoughts in the comments area.

(Editor’s Note: This post has been adapted from YouTern, with permission.)

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Employees Quit Leaders, Not Companies

These days, there’s lots of talk about the plight of a generation filled with hungry souls looking for purpose in life. Many find themselves feeling restless in their current roles, or searching endlessly for the ideal career path.

Although most of us must work to pay our way in the world, I think the mission is larger than just finding a great job. It’s also about finding strong role models.

Do You Give Employees A Reason To Stay?

When we’re kids, serendipity “assigns” the leaders in our lives. Our parents, our teachers, our coaches. We don’t pick these people, but they have a huge influence on how we develop and how we come to view ourselves. They can encourage and inspire us to stretch and grow; or they can stifle us, bully us and crush our spirits.

Those early experiences have a profound impact on us — but how do they carry over into careers?

Here’s a theory: Perhaps once we’re thrust into “the rest of our lives,” we’re on a mission to reconnect with the types of leaders we remember most fondly from our youth. It’s impossible to forget those who lit a fire in our hearts and under our butts — the ones who had confidence in us and challenged us to stretch and grow. We trust those types of leaders to guide us. They’re the ones in whom we want to invest both our loyalty and our time.

What should workplace decision makers learn from this? If you’re building a company, keeping the best people on your team is not just about salaries, perks and benefits. What you bring to the table as a leader matters just as much — if not more — to the overall happiness and commitment of your employees.

Looking Back: Survey Says…

Leigh Branham, author of 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave analyzed over 20,000 anonymous surveys asking employees why they left their last job. Although most managers believe pay is the primary reason people quit, Branham discovered that the number one reason actually is “loss of trust and confidence in senior leaders.”

The second reason? “Feeling undervalued in recognition, reward and pay.” Even though pay is included in that reason, it can be said that both loss of confidence and feeling that your work efforts are overlooked are actually leadership issues. “Undervalued” in this sense has little to do with money.

Some people might consider a new job at a different company because the pay is higher. However, the true seed of restlessness and dissatisfaction can be traced back to a disconnect between employee and employer.

Loyalty Breeds Loyalty

If employees quit leaders, not companies, then how can employers stem the tide? It starts with leaders who understand that to get loyalty from others, you must first give it. Leaders who take the initiative in demonstrating commitment to their teams are far more successful in gaining commitment in return.

Jo Romano, a work and life coach, suggests some simple ways for employers to demonstrate loyalty. These are our four favorites:

1) Clarify your values and goals, and encourage open dialogue with employees to be sure everyone is on the same page.

2) Trust your employees with important company information. An open door approach helps employees feel empowered and part of something bigger than just their immediate responsibilities.

3) Encourage growth opportunities by allowing employees to further their formal education or seek advice from other leaders, managers and supervisors. This shows them you’re secure in your role as leader and are invested in their professional growth.

4) Be sensitive to work/life conflicts to demonstrate that you see employees as people, and not just “workers.” Kindness and respect invariably strengthens any relationship.

The 21st Century Leader

The fundamentals of great leadership are timeless (passionate, confident, well-spoken). However, we like to suggest a few additions to the leadership playbook.

As Todd Wilms noted recently in Forbes commentary, today’s leaders should be willing to fail, be vulnerable, and set better boundaries. What? Failure, vulnerability and saying “no”? At first glance, that sounds like a recipe for disaster. But let’s break it down:

1) See Success Through Failure. These days, the saying is fail and fail fast. Quite simply, it’s imperative to try, to DO, even if you don’t achieve the desired goal. And that’s the whole point, to try, to test, to experiment, to innovate, to push the envelope and perhaps to fail. Then learn, tweak, iterate and polish. A journey from idea to execution, rife with failure, is better than than paralysis. Leaders who embrace failure by carving a path through it can empower employees and remove fear from the equation.

2) Find Strength In Vulnerability. Actually, it’s not just about vulnerability. The goal is to expose your humanity by being authentic, accepting, present and useful. Author and executive, James A. Autry, says these 5 principles set the stage for a leader/employee dynamic that is more open and functional. Be real and be a resource. Open yourself up to employees and lead by example.

3) Just Say “No.” It’s simple and logical, but many fail to remember that when you try to do everything, you end up doing nothing. Or you end up doing everything, with mediocre results. A great leader is an editor. It’s not about being a jerk or someone that everyone fears. The point is to keep people focused and leveraged. The trick is to say “no” with such finesse that it sounds more like a favor than a dismissal. Too many “yes’s” and you become a pleaser. But thoughtful, appropriate “no’s” make you an effective leader.

Great Leaders Attract AND Retain

Building and running a company requires juggling many moving parts and pieces — you can’t do it all yourself. But no matter what service you’re providing or what product you’re building, don’t forget that YOU are one of the essential reasons your employees joined the company in the first place. Keep this in mind so those moving parts won’t include dissatisfied employees, high turnover and loss of essential talent.

Of course, sometimes losing a key player or two may be unavoidable. But if a pattern arises and you’re losing more employees than you’d like, and you’re unsure about why, it’s time to examine your approach to leadership. Taking conscious, deliberate steps to nurture your leadership skills and employer/employee dynamic is never a waste of time. In fact, it might make all the difference to to your organization’s long-term health and prosperity.

What’s fundamental leadership quality matters most to your organization? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome. Learn more...)

Image Credit: WarnerBros

The Social Workplace: Nowhere To Hide #TChat Recap

“A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.”
–Dalai Lama

Excellent point. But the Dalai Lama’s quote begs a key question: In the social workplace, how much transparency is too much? Moreover, what does “privacy” really mean today, for employees as well as employers?

Obviously, there are no simple answers. And best practices only continue to shift, as social tools and conventions evolve. However, this issue affects everyone in the world of work. So that’s why TalentCulture invited a social-media-savvy HR attorney to help our community explore these issues at this week’s #TChat forums. We were thrilled to welcome Mary Wright, former General Counsel at employment litigation firm Ogletree Deakins, and founding Editor of HR Gazette, a daily online newspaper for HR professionals and employment lawyers. (For event highlights, see the links and Storify slideshow at the end of this post.)

Social Disclosure: Less Is More. Or Is It?

Ubiquitous social media channels. Smartphones with cameras. (Does anyone remember “old school” film cartridges anymore?) Circles of “friends” we’ve never even met face-to-face. It seems like nothing is truly private anymore. Most of us share photos, post comments and tell the world whatever pops into our minds throughout the day. But how does all that activity expose us professionally in unwanted ways? And what are the implications for the organizations we represent?

Here’s the kicker question: In an open social environment, how can companies encourage employees to serve as brand ambassadors, while ensuring that those same individuals use appropriate discretion?

Knowledge Is Power

As many #TChat participants noted this week, the answers start at the top. Senior executives must lead by example and encourage others to follow. Treating employees with candor and respect means that candor and respect will likely be returned. Communicating company objectives and priorities helps employees feel valued and empowered. And clarifying social policies provides a framework that makes it easier for employees to comply. Sharing more information with employees doesn’t need to put employers at risk. Instead, it can create a spirit of collaboration and strengthen employee engagement.

At the same time, employers should respect employee privacy. Again, leading by example is key. Managers should avoid gossip around the office and outside of work. This sounds like common sense, doesn’t it? And yet, I’ve overheard managers openly discussing an employee’s personal hardships, including private medical information. When managers breach that kind of trust, it leaves a memorable impression for everyone involved.

Amplify This? Think Before You Go Social

These days, social media adds another dimension. Employers can no longer afford to operate without documented social media policies. But what should the guiding principle be? Here’s a simple idea from Dave Ryan:

And what is an employee’s responsibility when interpreting social policies? Jen Olney offered sound advice:

https://twitter.com/gingerconsult/status/383017281405853696

Or perhaps for some of us, that sequence should be Stop. Think. Stop some more…and more…and more…then send.

In other words, before posting a comment or photo, consider for a moment who may see that information. How might they perceive it — for better or worse? Ask yourself, “Would I want my grandmother or daughter to see what I am about to make public?” Remember, once you post it, you won’t have control over where it may be seen, or how it will be interpreted. So perhaps the very best policy is for each of us to take responsibility for ourselves, and err on the side of caution.

To see more about this week’s conversation, see the resource links and Storify highlights slideshow below. And if you have ideas, feel free to share a comment, or post in the #TChat stream. This is just the start of an ongoing dialogue — so please weigh-in anytime!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Workplace Privacy vs. Transparency

SAT 9/21:

Mary Wright

Watch the Hangout with Mary Wright now

#TChat Preview: TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald framed the topic in a post that features a brief G+ Hangout video with our guest, Mary Wright. Read the Preview:
“TMI: A Fresh Take On Privacy By An HR Lawyer.”

SUN 9/22:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro outlined 5 issues for business leaders to consider about transparency in today’s social world. Read: “Private Workplace Lives In a Public Social Age.”

MON 9/23:

Related Article: Entrepreneur David Hassell talked about why and how trust is the most precious currency for any new venture. Read: “Want to Build a Business? Lead With Trust.”

TUE 9/24:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro shared compelling leadership lessons learened from a cultural clash at a software company in transition. Read: “5 Social Skills Business Leaders Must Master.”

WED 9/25:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio show now

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with Mary Wright about legal issues and implications surrounding privacy in the workplace — from multiple perspectives: employers, employees and job candidates. Listen to the radio show recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, hundreds of community members gathered with Mary on the #TChat Twitter stream for an expanded discussion about this topic. For highlights from the event, see the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Highlights: Transparency vs. Privacy In The Workplace

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-transparency-vs-privacy-in-the-wor.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Mary Wright for adding your insights to this week’s discussion. Your legal and HR expertise added depth and perspective to a topic that increasingly affects us all.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about information sharing in the new era of social business? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, we tackle another “world of work” hot topic — The Dark Side of Workplace Effectiveness — along with two of the HR community’s best-known social commentators: John Sumser, editor-in-chief of HRExaminer; and William Tincup, CEO of HR consultancy Tincup & Co. So save the date (October 2) for another rockin #TChat double-header.

In the meantime, we’ll see you on the stream!

Image Credit: Pixabay

TMI? Fresh Take on Privacy by an HR Lawyer #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Want to see complete highlights and resource links from this week’s #TChat events? Read the recap: “The Social Workplace: Nowhere To Hide.”)

For better or worse, much of today’s world of work now plays out on a relatively open, social stage. Many of us — employers, employees and job candidates alike — welcome this as progress. However, it also raises core legal questions about transparency and confidentiality on all sides of the employment equation.

It’s like a scene from Goldilocks and the Three Bears. How do you know if you’re openly exchanging too much information? Too little? Or just the right amount? What business practices are accepted in your organization? What does common sense tell you? And what would a lawyer do?

Fortunately for the TalentCulture community, a smart, HR-savvy attorney is in the #TChat house this week to advise us about these issues!

Our guest expert this week is Mary Wright, former General Counsel of Ogletree Deakins, a premier employment litigation firm, and founding Editor of HR Gazette, a daily online newspaper for HR professionals and employment lawyers.

To kick-off this week’s conversation, I spoke briefly with Mary in a G+ Hangout, where she explained why it’s time to recast “privacy rights” workplace issues in a more positive light:

#TChat Events: Transparency vs. Privacy in the World of Work

This promises to be an enlightening week for HR and recruiting professionals, as well as employees and job seekers everywhere. So join us with your questions, concerns, ideas and opinions!

#TChat Radio — Wed, Sep 25 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Mary Wright about legal issues and implications surrounding privacy in the workplace — from the perspective of employers as well as employees and job candidates. Tune-in to the interview LIVE online, and call-in with your comments and questions!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Sep 25 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, we’ll move the discussion to the #TChat Twitter stream, for an open chat with the entire TalentCulture community. Anyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these questions:

Q1: What does transparency and privacy in the workplace mean to you?
Q2: Are transparency and privacy essential to orderly and efficient workplaces?
Q3: What are the most common legal mistakes employers and employees make with one another?
Q4: What can business leaders do to balance the two and avoid legal trouble?
Q5: How does technology enable and hinder transparency and privacy in the workplace?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Forbes Picks TalentCulture As A Top Career Site: 3 Reasons Why It Matters

“The people to get even with are those who’ve helped you.”
–J.E. Southard

Today it’s time for us to “get even” by expressing deep gratitude! Why? Because Forbes.com has selected TalentCulture as one of “100 Top Websites For Your Career.” Of course we’re thrilled — and not just for all the obvious reasons. So, in the spirit of lists everywhere, here are our 3 Reasons Why This Forbes List Matters:

1) It Matters For Our Mission

By including us, Forbes is acknowledging the rise of crowdsourcing and virtual communities of practice in today’s social business world. And, if you consider the breadth and caliber of the company we’re keeping, it truly is an honor to be featured.

2) It Matters To Others In The World Of Work

On this list, everyone is a winner because there are no rankings. Instead, as Forbes staff writer Jacquelyn Smith notes:

“Our goal was to assemble a comprehensive guide to smart and engaging…online destinations for interns, job seekers, business owners, established professionals, retirees, and anyone else looking to launch, improve, advance, or change his or her career.”

forbes-logoForbes has developed a highly eclectic mix of sites. It’s not just about wildly popular social platforms like Twitter; professional networking sites like LinkedIn; job boards like CareerBuilder; and reference sites like the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Forbes actually adds meat to those big bones with niche services like CareerBliss and PayScale, as well as informational sites like Lindsey Pollak and Jobacle.

However, for us, the most exciting sites on the list are the many valued friends, partners and participants in our TalentCulture community. For example:

Blogging4Jobs by Jessica Miller-Merrell
Brazen Life by Brazen Careerest
Come Recommended by Heather Huhman
Keppie Careers by Miriam Salpeter
The Office Blend by Dr. Marla Gottschalk
Tweak It Together by Cali Yost
WorkLifeNation by Judy Martin
YouTern by Mark Babbitt

3) We Hope It Matters To You

Most importantly, this recognition is a positive reflection on each of you — the tens-of-thousands of monthly visitors who rely upon TalentCulture as a resource for helpful “world of work” ideas, insights, connections and conversations with professional peers.

This milestone is also an opportunity for us to express our gratitude for the hundreds of community participants who, for nearly 4 years have generously developed blog content, appeared as guests on our #TChat Radio shows, participated in our popular #TChat Twitter events, and shared knowledge and peer support continuously on our social media channels.

TalentCulture exists only because of the time, effort and skill that each of you contribute. That’s the beauty of community. This isn’t merely a “website.” This is a reflection of a continuous collaborative process that our founder, Meghan M. Biro, calls a “metaphor for the social workplace.”

Truly, in this case, we could not have done this with out you. So thanks to you all! And congratulations on what you’ve helped us create. Stay tuned to this site — and let’s see where our living learning laboratory will take us next!

Image Credit: redagainPatti at flickr

 

Want To Be Your Own Boss? Try This First

By Hans Balmaekers, Founder and Director, sa.am

Plan B: Entrepreneurship?

Many young professionals quickly discover that corporate life falls short of expectations. Do you relate? You probably feel you have more to offer than your job requires. You may even think you could outperform your manager. If so, you’re not alone.

It’s no secret that Millennials tend to score lowest in employee engagement. Many of us feel that, if only the economy weren’t so bad, we could have started our own companies by now and could proudly call ourselves entrepreneurs.

The great stories of leading self-made innovators like Elon Musk make it easy to see ourselves standing in their shoes, building companies and disrupting industries just as they did. And because corporate life can be so frustrating and unfulfilling, it seems attractive to completely jump ship and do our own thing.

Perhaps if you burned your bridges, you could soon be the next Steve Jobs, on stage, presenting the next big thing, with the world at your feet…

News Flash: Entrepreneurship Is No Ticket to Success

Ready for a wake-up call? The truth is that your dream isn’t likely to become a reality.

Most young-professionals-turned-entrepreneurs don’t even come close. They aren’t even entrepreneuring. They often do the same kind of work as before — but as consultants. (What else can they do with only a few years of experience?) These free agents chase clients, network like crazy, stick their toes in social media and market themselves, but they find themselves still unsatisfied and earning less than before. Has being brave ever felt less appealing?

Another Path

Maybe you shouldn’t leave and become an entrepreneur. Maybe there’s another way to use your talents and ideas and channel your frustrations about how your organization needs to change. Leaving is not your only option. Why not take a deep breath, stand up, rise above your desk and shout out, “Enough! I’m making changes around here!”

Sure, that might seem a bit theatrical. But be honest. Doesn’t that statement actually describe how you feel?

Start A Secret Intrapreneur Mission Now

If so, try a more subtle way to go about disrupting the status quo — start a secret mission to become an intrapreneur. That means you can use your entrepreneurial mindset and skills to create the job you love and generate better results for your company.

Read that again — a job you love that generates results for your company. Is that possible? Sure it is. Many have done it. Not all openly call themselves intrapreneurs, but the population of these inspiring and talented people is growing. They are changing their companies’ cultures from within, and launching hugely successful products. Think of companies like 3M, Sony, Vodafone, Dell and Google, just to name a few. Intrapreneurs are absolutely essential to these organizations. Most of them started their careers at the same point as you. They experienced the same frustrations as you. And just like you, they knew change was needed.

They had similar ideas and the same urgency to challenge the status quo and figure out how to get things moving. But instead of walking away from those challenges and leaving their employers, they decided to drive the change they envisioned.

Being a change-maker takes passion, persistence, patience and resilience. It’s not the easy road. And it’s not how our generation was raised. We’ve been told that the choice is always ours, that we can have whatever we want, and that participation is optional.

GenY operates with the mantra, “If we don’t like it, we don’t do it.” If you don’t like your job, it might seem easier to quit, but that will not necessarily help. You may still end up feeling unfulfilled, with no stage and no audience (plus a lower salary, or none at all).

Isn’t it more exciting and rewarding to show colleagues, managers and senior executives that we Millennials can fulfill our promise of being innovators, connectors, change-makers and leaders?

The next time you envision yourself as Steve Jobs, picture yourself on the same stage announcing the same breakthrough innovation — but wearing a shirt with your current company’s logo. A successful and happy intrapreneur. Doesn’t that feel more fulfilling than endlessly chasing gigs? You still get your monthly salary, and if you do it right, you’ll grow your income faster than you would as an entrepreneur.

Still Not Into Intrapreneuring? Consider This

Like many GenY workers, you may feel inspired to play your part in changing the world for the better. Multinational corporations and other big organizations play a major role in change-making, believe it or not.

You can take a shorter shower to save water, but compared to the consumption of big industrial corporations, it’s a droplet. You can talk for hours about the financial crisis, but as long as big banks and institutions don’t change the way they operate, will it ever be solved? Transforming education is a must, but if there’s no work for hundreds of millions of young people, why care?

Multinational corporations and big organizations are crucial in changing the world for the better. And the only way to make them frontrunners in that process, rather than followers, is for next-generation employees to drive change from within.

What’s Stopping You?

Ready to apply yourself to the ideas that will help you become an intrapreneur, rather than an entrepreneur? The best way to start is by learning how to perform better at your current job and in less time. Your time can be better spent investing in interesting side projects, engaging in more strategic relationships, and building your reputation.

Are you in?

Hans-Balmaekers-founder-sa.am_-001(Author Profile: Hans Balmaekers is the Founder and Director of sa.am, a resource for young professionals who care about their future, want to make a difference, and want to develop the mindset and skills to become change-makers. This month, sa.am is launching an online intrapreneurship course to prepare aspiring and new intrapreneurs for success. Connect with Hans on Twitter, or on LinkedIn.)

(Editor’s Note: This post was originally published by Brazen Life, a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, the blog offers edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!)

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Flexible Work And The Power of Choice #TChat Recap

Working “In The Zone”

Think for a moment about your ideal work scenario. Look beyond the substance of the work, itself. Instead, focus on structure, and flow, and surroundings. Think about the “how” and the “when” and the “where” that make it possible to perform well.

What does it feel like to operate in your most productive way? And how often do you actually achieve that level of focus and energy? Is something standing between you and your vision? If so, how could you or your employer close the gap?

Of course, each of us has a unique work/life narrative. And there are countless ways to create an effective fit between professional responsibilities and personal pursuits. But anything is possible, as long as we’re empowered to make choices that work for us and for those who need our talent.

Straight Ahead: No Boundaries

Did I just hear a chuckle from the cynical side of the house? Granted, I see blue sky in the forecast. But this week’s #TChat forums indicate that flexible options aren’t just an isolated phenomenon or a passing fancy. Instead, soon we should expect many more workers to find  flexibility within reach. Why? Consider these points:

1) The concept of work, itself, is being radically redefined — as Jason Fried, founder of the productivity application company, 37Signals, explained in this compelling TED Talk:

2) Employers are waking up and recognizing the business value of flexible work options. And, as many #TChat participants suggested, ROI can be measured in multiple ways. For example:

(For more thought-provoking tweets, see the #TChat highlights slideshow at the end of this post.)

3) Our expert guests are evidence that flexible options are gaining credibility and momentum. Both are leading the way in today’s work/life fit movement. They shared real-world perspectives about why these initiatives are gaining traction, along with tips to “make it work.”

Lisa Horn, Co-Leader of SHRM’s Workplace Flexibility Initiative and a SHRM Senior Government Relations Advisor;
Susan Lovegren, SVP of HR at Plantronics, a leading-edge technology company that offers “Smarter Working” choices.

(Hear details in the #TChat Radio show listed in the week’s resource list, below.)

4) The backlash has begun. You know a business practice is becoming legitimate when  nay-sayers appear at the gates. Ironically, just this week HR Executive Online reported on “next wave” research: “Non-Remote Workers Jealous of Telecommuters.” Why leave anyone behind? As our #TChat Radio guests explained, even when telecommuting isn’t practical, flexibility can come in other forms.

5) Key takeaway — change is a two-way street. Whatever is ahead in the realm of flexible work, it’s clear that change is needed on both sides of the employment contract. As this nested tweet suggests:

Thanks to everyone in the TalentCulture community who contributed opinions and ideas at this week’s #TChat events! We invite you to review highlights in the slideshow below, along with other related resources — and we look forward to expanding this conversation, as work/life blend issues continue to shape today’s workplace!

#TChat Week-In-Review: The Flexible World Of Work

SUN 8/18:

Forbes.com Post: To kickstart the conversation, TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro challenged business leaders to recognize the value of flexible work options. Read: “5 Reasons Why Workplace Flexibility Is a Smart Business Strategy.”

MON 8/19:

#TChat Preview: Our Community Manager, Tim McDonald, expanded on the week’s topic and events in his preview post: “Reworking The 9-to-5 Office Job.”

TUE 8/20:

Related Post: TalentCulture blog contributor, Heather Huhman, offered a snapshot of today’s flexible workforce trends with an infographic post: “5 Reasons To Hire Flexible Talent.”

WED 8/21:

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Listen now to the #TChat Radio show

#TChat Radio: In a highly informative warm-up to the Twitter conversation, Lisa and Susan joined our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman to discuss key issues and opportunities surrounding flexible work options, and how the concept translates into organizational life at Plantronics. Listen now to the radio show recording.

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, our entire community gathered on the #TChat Twitter stream for an open discussion about work/life fit from many points of view. To see highlights, check out the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Highlights: Workplace Flexibility As A Business Strategy

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-workplace-flexibility-as-a-busines.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Lisa Horn  and Susan Lovegren for generously sharing insights about flexibility initiatives and work/life blend issues. You’ve opened our eyes to new aspects of this critical business trend.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about flexible work arrangements or work/life fit issues? We’d love to share your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, our “summer restart” series concludes, as author Bob Burg joins us to  look at entrepreneurial endeavors within corporate environments. So plan to join us, and check for details this weekend on TalentCulture social channels.

In the meantime, the World of Work conversation continues everyday. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or on other social channels. And feel free to explore our redesigned website. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and your ideas and opinions are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

5 Reasons To Hire Flexible Talent

Having a hard time finding the right employee for the job? You may be looking at the wrong group of candidates. According to recent reports, hiring within the flexible job market has steadily increased over the past 12 months. In addition, employers plan to hire more flexible workers this year than any other year before.

So, why is it in your best interest to consider flexible workers?

This infographic, compiled by Hourly (an employment network that quickly matches people who are interested in flexible positions with the right opportunities), illustrates why the flexible talent pool is the group to watch. Some noteworthy takeaways:

  • 40% of employers plan to hire temp workers this year, and more than 80% plan to increase their flexible workforce;
  • 25 million Americans work part-time, 20 million telecommute, and 10 million are independent contractors;
  • 39% of temporary workers will transition into full-time jobs.

If you’re an employer, what role do flexible workers play in your talent strategy? Or, if you’re on the other side of the table, as part of the flexible workforce, tell us how flexible options have helped or hindered you.

Check out the full infographic below, and share your thoughts in the comments section!

What do you think? What are some other reasons to hire flexible workers?

(Image Credit: Nicole LaPointe-McKay)
(Note: Gumby is a trademark of Premavision Inc/Clokey Productions)

Will The Real You Please Stand Up? #TChat Recap

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” -Oscar Wilde

Looking for yet another staggering social era statistic? Try this from personal branding tools provider, Brand Yourself:

Google processes more than 80 million “people” searches each day. Yep. 80 million. Chances are someone will be searching for you soon. So ask yourself this — if someone “Googled” your name right now, would the results do you justice?

Brand Positioning: It’s All About The “C” Words

As a marketing and communications professional, I’ve spent years persuading business organizations to mind their messaging, so the world will understand their brand promise. I preach the “5 C’s” of brand positioning: Clarity, Completeness, Cohesion, Credibility and Consistency. And now, after a week of “brand you” discussions with the TalentCulture community, I see how those very same concepts can be an equally powerful force in our professional lives.

Turns out, I’m not the only one who likes “C” words! Earlier this year, after #TChat conversations about how professional recommendations influence personal brands, our very own Kevin W. Grossman offered some handy “C” advice of his own on the Reach-West blog:

“…Ensure your online profiles are as consistent and accurate as possible across all social points of presence. In other words, whomever you say you are, and whatever you say you’re doing (and have done) is close (if not the same) on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, G+ and the many other industry and association niche networks and communities where you’re visible.

Consistency and accuracy are critical keys, because those searching for you and reviewing your profiles will be looking for anomalies that don’t add up — and you want everything to add up. You want to stand out, but you want to add up — and for goodness sake you want to be accurate and truthful about everything. That includes your recommendations and endorsements. Never over-spin, or allow others to go there. Not only that, but at the very least once a quarter review and update your online profiles, and kill those you no longer want to maintain, even if you’re not looking for work.

Why? Because you never know when that great new opportunity will be looking for you to add up. It’s your personal employment brand. Take care of it.”

DIY Brand Makeover

Reinventing You

Learn more about “Reinventing You”5 C’s of Brand Positioning

Hmm. I guess I’d better spend the dog days of summer cleaning my personal brand “house.” How about you? From what I saw on the #TChat stream yesterday, few of us would disagree with the importance of proactively managing an online persona. But for some people, focusing on themselves is almost as enjoyable as flossing their teeth.

That’s why we asked a fearless brand management expert to lead the way this week — Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You. Dorie clearly understands the issues that hold people back from “owning” their brand identity, and she offers practical tools to make it work.

Below, we’ve captured the week’s highlights — including a tweet-by-tweet Storify slideshow from #TChat Twitter, and other resource links.

We hope this sparks a desire to start your own brand makeover. Let us know about your progress…here or on the stream. The TalentCulture community, is always open and ready to offer ideas and support. Rock that brand!

#TChat Week in Review: Reinventing Your Personal Brand

SAT 7/13

DorieClark

Watch the G+ Hangout with Dorie Clark

#TChat Preview: Our Community Manager, Tim McDonald, outlined the week’s topic in a post that features a great “sneak peek” G+ Hangout with Dorie. See “You 2.0: Reinventing a Personal Brand.”

SUN 7/14

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro, offered 5 ways to tap into your true professional identity. Read “Rethink Brand You: Find Your Authentic Self.”

TUE 7/16

Related Post: For people who need clarification to redefine themselves, Dorie explained how to gather actionable input from a full-circle brand review. Read “Considering a Career Change? Take a 360 Snapshot.”

WED 7/17

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Listen to the #TChat Radio show

#TChat Radio: To kick-off this week’s #TChat double-header, Dorie spoke with Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman about the power of proactively managing your brand. Even if you’re not in the market for a new position, you’ll hear ideas you can use. Listen now to the recording.

#TChat Twitter: As the radio show concluded, we fired-up the Twitter chat engines for a dynamic, community conversation about the role of personal branding in our professional lives. As always, the crowdsourcing energy was breathtaking. Thanks to everyone who contributed! To review highlights, see the slideshow below:

#TChat Twitter Highlights: “Reinventing a Personal Brand”

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-reinventing-a-personal-brand.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Dorie Clark for helping our community think more intelligently about the “why” and “how” of personal brand management. You inspire us to reach higher!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about work/life integration issues? We’d love to share your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week at #TChat events, we’ll continue our summer “professional restart” series with a special crowdsourcing forum. Check for details in a preview post this weekend.

In the meantime, the World of Work conversation continues each day. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, or on our new LinkedIn discussion group. And feel free to explore other areas of our redesigned website. The gears are always turning at TalentCulture, and your ideas and opinions are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng