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#WorkTrends: Advice for the Next Generation at Work

Karyn Schoenbart

When NPD Group CEO Karyn Schoenbart’s daughter Danielle was 6 years old, she and a friend asked if they could have a sleepover. Instead of saying “yes” or “no,” Schoenbart asked them to give a presentation on why they should have a sleepover.

When your mom is a CEO, sometimes things run a little bit differently. So it’s no wonder that when Danielle entered the advertising industry, she often found herself advising co-workers on how to navigate office politics. She christened her education an MBA — Mom.B.A., that is.

Now Karyn Schoenbart has collected that wisdom in her best-selling book “Mom.B.A.: Essential Business Advice from One Generation to the Next.” Our conversation was enormously enlightening, with insights that any professional can use.

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

The Importance of Networking

The first bit of advice Schoenbart says she offers young workers is to be sure that they are networking during their early career. However, workers also need to remember that the worth of your Rolodex — to use an older generation’s term — isn’t based on its size; it’s based on the quality of the contacts that you make. “If you can make a few authentic connections, those can serve you well,” she says.

Of course, putting theory into practice is an another matter entirely. A lot of people dislike networking events, believing them to be exercises in small talk and empty promises. But Schoenbart says that’s the wrong way to approach such events. “It doesn’t have to be small talk,” she says. “It could be thoughtful talk.”

To ensure thoughtful chit-chat, prepare for the event like it’s a job interview. Try to research who will attend. Prepare interesting questions you can ask. They don’t have to be complicated — just asking someone what they’re working on breaks a lot more ice than you’d expect.

Finally, make sure your follow-up is even more thoughtful. “One of my pet peeves is when people follow up on LinkedIn with the generic ‘Let’s connect,’ ” Schoenbart says. Take the time to personalize your message — and never be afraid to ask what you can do for someone. “You never know,” she says. “Sometimes it won’t pay back, but many times it will.”

Rethink the Labels for ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ Bosses

We’ve all seen “Office Space” and had bosses who are ineffective and frustrating.

But Schoenbart wonders if our definitions aren’t a bit skewed. “We don’t always realize who’s a good boss and who’s a bad boss,” she says. She cites her first boss as a classic “good boss.” “My boss was incredibly nurturing,” she says, but notes that as she grew in the position his approach actually began to feel stifling. “I ended up having to leave the company because I felt I couldn’t grow.”

At Schoenbart’s second job, her boss was much more emotionally distant. He “could barely give me the time of day,” she says. But the experience ultimately provided a valuable learning experience because it forced her to learn to stand up for herself, become self-motivated and evaluate the quality of her work without the presence of feedback. “Looking back,” she asks, “who was the better boss?”

She says her experience under that second boss provided a foundational lesson that she passed on to her daughter and to the readers of her book: Grow and absorb the lessons you learn working underneath your bosses — all of them. The only way you will grow and prepare yourself for leadership positions is to get out of your comfort zone.

You Never Outgrow Impostor Syndrome

You know that feeling where you think you’re underqualified for whatever it is you’re doing? It’s called impostor syndrome. Even someone as successful as Schoenbart feels it!

The sad reality is that even as we get older, impostor syndrome is one thing that doesn’t fade. Thankfully, Schoenbart has a few suggestions to prove to ourselves that we really do belong.

First, resist the urge to compare yourself to others. “You’re unique,” Schoenbart says.

Second, remember that uniqueness when you think about yourself. Most people are very aware of their weaknesses, but it’s also important to focus on your strengths. “What you’re really good at is also going to be most likely what you love,” she says. “If you can be even better at [them], you can be the best at it then, and that can help propel your career.”

Finally, start a fan file. Whenever you do great work on a project or receive a compliment from a boss or client, put it in the file. Not only will it help cheer you up when you’re feeling down, but it can help you work your way up the ladder. “If there’s an opportunity or a promotion … you can pull out your file and use that to help build your case,” Schoenbart says.

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

What Every Leader Needs to Know About Retaining Millennials

By 2025, millennials will make up 75 percent of the global workforce. While it’s tough to assign broad characteristics to an entire generation, millennials are generally known to be technically savvy and focused on growth, looking for new opportunities and frequent feedback. So it’s no surprise that traditional management styles fall flat for millennials.

For employers, updating management practices isn’t just a nice thing to do — it’s absolutely necessary in order to develop and retain the next generation of leaders. Here are three important factors that employers should consider in order to retain millennial talent.

Rethink Feedback

Based on a global Korn Ferry survey of over 1,000 executives, 44 percent said millennial employees require a lot more feedback than workers of other generations, with only 10 percent reporting that they need about the same feedback as others.

It’s easy to view “requires more feedback” as a negative trait. However, it’s not that millennials need more time and effort put into their feedback — they just want it delivered differently, in real time. Feedback can be as simple as a manager taking 30 seconds after a meeting to tell a millennial what they did well and what they can work on. Millennials do not see the benefit of an annual performance evaluation where they walk nervously into a supervisor’s office and receive a ton of information all at once. In fact, says Aon Hewitt Senior Consultant Kelly Johnson, the annual review model is often less efficient than ongoing, more informal feedback that employees can implement immediately.

Make Learning and Development a Priority

Millennials place a high value on learning and development because they grew up in a rapidly changing digital landscape. They understand that everyone must accelerate their learning to remain competitive. An important thing for organizations to keep in mind is that horizontal moves can be as attractive to millennials as vertical ones. “There is no reason to look at development as constant promotion,” says Johnson. “Mobility programs — being able to switch roles within the same organization — allow for the growth experiences that millennials want.”

In other words, development is no longer enough. Redevelopment is key. In Mercer’s 2018 Global Talent Trends Study, only 50 percent of employers surveyed say their organization has a redevelopment mindset. But in the tech industry, known for attracting millennials, 64 percent of employers cite a strong focus on continual redevelopment.

Build a Culture of Flexible Work

Previous generations wanted work-life balance. For millennials, it might be more accurate to call it work-life integration. Allison Griffiths, principal and leader of workforce rewards at Mercer Canada, stresses that millennials want to “make work work” by making their work fit into the rest of their lives. Still, half of millennials surveyed by Mercer feel that working part-time or remotely would negatively affect their promotion prospects.

Clearly there remains a disconnect between existing company culture and what millennials want from work. Managers can fill the gap by encouraging individual work habits that lead to the highest productivity, whether that means working inside the office or remotely.

Image courtesy of #WOCinTech chat

 

How to Attract and Retain Millennial Talent

Millennials (members of Generation Y) are quickly becoming the majority of the workforce. Companies who want to stay relevant and competitive should adapt to this influx of new talent and new challenges. TalentCulture has previously addressed this topic in The Five Secrets to Retaining Millennial Talent and we want to continue that conversation. Our most recent survey of millennials in the US and Canada showed that career advancement opportunities, meaningful engaging tasks, and work culture/environment are three of the most important factors that attract Gen Ys to join and stay at a company. While these values are shared amongst all generations of workers, what sets the millennial generation apart from other generations is how they define and understand these key decision factors.

In order to tap into top millennial talent, employers need to understand how millennial experiences shape their perspectives and behaviors. As a generation, millennials have been influenced by the constant influx of new technologies, social networking, video game culture, the internet, and a modernized educational model that develops students beyond the classroom. The result of these influences is a generation of workers that has an expectation of constant self-progression, a need for social and professional connections, and a multidimensional definition of success. These unique experiences and expectations are what set millennials apart from previous generations.

By understanding the experiences that have shaped millennials mental models of the world, employers will be able to adapt and change their work environment to be a place where millennials succeed. Companies that want to attract millennial talent should focus their talent acquisition and retention strategies on the following three key areas.

Millennials Expect: Clear and Consistent Advancement

Our society has undergone an unprecedented era of technological advancement, and millennials have been the first generation to develop in this environment of constant and rapid progress.  Furthermore, their education system reinforced the belief that progress should be continuous and measurable by providing students with quick, frequent feedback. Whereas other generations may have seen the merits of long-term, steady career advancement, millennials pursue growth that is accelerated and concrete. This broad underlying set of experiences has shaped the millennial generation to expect clear and consistent advancement in both their lives and in their employment.

Those in Gen Y want to do quality work and be reassured that they are progressing in the right direction. Their experience with video game culture has shaped this desire. Video games provide an environment of clear, measurable achievement progress in the form of points, leveling up, and badges. Employers can leverage these intrinsic motivators by providing an environment that builds on these ideas.

For example, it is more effective to have weekly, informal, one-on-one check-ins with millennials than the traditional annual performance reviews. The Center for Generational Kinetics reported that 42% of millennials want feedback every week. This is over twice the percentage of every other generation. [1] The focus of these meetings should be specific and actionable feedback for the employee, and should include the business impact behind the critique, regardless of if the feedback is positive or negative. By understanding the why, millennials will be propelled forward by renewed intrinsic motivation and thus will perform more effectively for the business.

Another way employers can utilize millennials’ passion for constant improvement is to offer them new opportunities in the form of new responsibilities, training, time with company leaders, and/or promotions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 45% of millennials who are willing to consider other job opportunities would leave a job if they didn’t see a career path they wanted at the company. [1] Employers can succeed in retaining millennials by providing opportunity beyond financial incentives.

Millennials Expect: Meaningful Work

The internet allows millennials to connect with people and information in immediate ways that were never before available to previous generations. Finding their work meaningful is especially significant to millennials because they view their career as a core facet of their identity.  “Millennials see no difference between work and life…All efforts in both are interwoven in a greater purpose, mission or passion.” [2] They need to relate to their work and work environment and merge that with their self-image.

In order for millennials to feel connected with their workplace, they need to understand how their role and work fits into the context of the organization.They will more easily contribute to the organization’s goals once they have an understanding of how they are assisting to those goals. Impressively, 60% of millennials said a sense of purpose is part of the reason they chose to work for their current employer. [1]

Corporate branding that showcases your company’s tech-savviness will speak to millennials’ identities and garner their interest. Employers must consider how prospective candidates perceive their online presence and job postings. I.e. will candidates be able to identify with your company if they only see your website? Millennials expect organizations to have a strong relationship with technology, so leverage your tech presence to attract them. Show them how your organization is different from others in your field.

Millennials Expect: A Sense of Value

The rise of social networks has enabled millennials to be ever-more connected with their peers. Millennials now want to feel bonded to their coworkers, managers, and workplace. Employers can foster these bonds by creating a welcoming social environment for their employees, and also by placing more emphasis on employee development and mentorship. A sense of value, for millennials, comes from actively being a part of a team, being appreciated for their quality of work, and having strong leaders guiding them.

For example, employers can better help millennials feel connected to their organization by using smaller teams, where peer relationships develop naturally and their work holds more significance. The connections they form will enable them to engage with their assignments on a deeper passion and produce higher quality results. Advertising that your company practices these small group techniques will encourage Gen Y’s to apply to your organization.

Gen Ys want to work in an environment that values their personal growth as much as they do. Employers can differentiate themselves from the competition by providing managers and team leads who act as career mentors. Meghan M. Biro said it best when she said, “having a great mentor is a key factor to improving employee engagement among millennials.”.  TalentCulture provides a guide for how to make the most out of employee mentoring. By connecting with mentors who guide them towards better opportunities, millennials are more likely to stay with a company.

It Doesn’t Stop Here

The insights above have been inspired by our most recent research, including a survey of working millennials in the US and Canada. Other data and support was drawn from the Center for Generational Kinetics article “Unlocking Millennial Potential 2015” [1] We also have delved deeper into this topic on the DreamHire.io blog. Send us your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @dreamhireio.

References

[1] The Center for Generational Kinetics, “Unlocking Millennial Potential 2015, Brand New Insights For Employing the Fastest Growing Generation in the Workplace” https://www.dreamhire.io/docs/Unlocking-Millennial-Talent-c-2015-The-Center-for-Generational-Kinetics.pdf, (2015)

[2]  Brittney Barbe, “Is Work-Life Balance Dead? Depends on Which Generation You Ask.” https://talentculture.wpengine.com/is-work-life-balance-dead-depends-on-which-generation-you-ask/, (August 3, 2016)

Photo Credit: Pexels cco

Listen Up, Leaders: We Are All Millennials

A lot of digital ink has been spilled regarding Millennials and how they are reshaping and reordering the workplace. I’m happy to report that ink has not been wasted.  The influx of Millennials into the workforce tops virtually any short list of today’s business trends.  No doubt, Generation Y is poised to make a big impact on the world of work.  But are the supposed differences of the most tech-savvy generation in history all they are cracked up to be? Even more importantly, how will generational differences play out when it comes to leadership development, workplace culture and recruiting?  Here are a few points worth considering:

  1. Millennials And Non-Millennials Are More Alike Than Not: Sure, Millennials have a language all their own, which is not easy for outsiders to decipher.  But studies of Generation Y show that they value many of the things other generations value: like hard work, fair compensation, and establishing the right blend between career and family.  On yeah, there’s another trait they share with the rest of humanity: they thrive on leadership and team feedback. Yes, today’s twenty-somethings are a new breed of human, but they are not necessarily a breed apart.
  1. Employee Engagement: Just like everyone else, millennial employees seek and appreciate basic acknowledgement.  However, they do differ in the way they expect feedback to be communicated.  This is the generation that grew up with Instant Messages and texting.  They assume that communication works at the speed of light.  And they are right.  Taking a week to recognize a job well-done makes about as much sense to them as sending an offer letter by pony express.
  1. Embracing The Winds Of Change:  Millennials are fearless when it comes to digital and technology.  Let’s wrap our minds around the Cloud, Big Data, and the globally inter-connected workplace.  They can run social media circles around the rest of us.  Right? Well, Sort of….On second thought, these aren’t just traits of a single generation, so much as skills necessary to succeed in the future that is unfolding before our eyes.  We are all Millennials now, like it or not.
  1. Generational Communication: We live in an era of virtually unprecedented generational diversity.  Every generation has strengths and weaknesses, but differences in communication styles can breed misunderstanding and conflict.  Organizations need strategies that will help them mentor younger generations and encourage all age brackets to work cohesively.  Communication styles need to be tailored to each person’s needs.  Similarly, dissimilar age groups respond to different incentives.  For example, members of Generation Y may value flextime more than financial compensation.  Of course, grooming today’s talent for leadership positions of the future is part of how tribal wisdom is transmitted.  Here, more seasoned workers can share their valuable experience while younger employees share their knowledge of technology.

Generation Us is entering the workplace in a big way.  We have the power to change the way we work, for the better.  Our tech and digital skills will help us deal with a world that is more global, diverse, and fast-changing than ever before.  We must embrace change, technology, and more disruption because that’s where the future is going, in a hurry.

A version of this was first posted on Forbes.

Photo Credit: Labour is Listening via Compfight cc

What Do Interns Really Want? [Infographic]

Developing an extraordinary internship program can be a long and winding journey. You’ll face plenty of bumps in the road, and perhaps lots of trial and error. And as we’ve seen in the news recently, you may even discover some controversy.

But overall, internships can be very beneficial for organizations — not just because enthusiastic young workers are contributing to your business goals. Internship programs can also open the door to a more diverse workforce, help add fresh perspectives to your brand, attract other young talent to your organization, and more.

Of course, employers aren’t the only ones who benefit. Although the state of the internship has shifted over time, its overarching goal remains the same — students and recent grads should gain something educational from their work experience. So, what do today’s interns really want to accomplish, and what else should employers know about them?

The following infographic, based on student employment data from InternMatch, offers insights to help employers map out a more effective internship program. Here are some highlights:

•  38% of interns want better pay
•  30% want opportunities to perform meaningful work
•  47% are interested in access to executives and mentorship
•  California, New York, and Florida are three of the top states for finding college talent

Do any of these statistics surprise you? Check out the full infographic below, and share your thoughts in the comments area.

What are your thoughts? Have you experienced these trends — as an intern or as an employer?

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Another Kind Of Revolution: Social, Mobile, Cloud

“You say you want a revolution? Well you know, we all want to change the world.” –John Lennon

It’s deja vu on a grand scale — like the Beatles are arriving in America all over again. A huge culture shift is upon us, and the winds of change are blowing in ways that are simultaneously unsettling and exhilarating.

“Boomers” are transitioning out of their careers, and the leadership reigns are slowly-but-surely being handed to Millennials at start-ups, small businesses and enterprises everywhere. Much like when John, Paul, George and Ringo touched down in New York in 1964, at first there was some resistance, but eventually the new guard convinced skeptics and changed minds. In the 60’s, revolution was expressed through music and social change — while today, next-generation leaders are driving disruptive change in technology and business.

New Agents of Change

Cloud computing, mobile devices, “big data” and social media are now prominent fixtures across the business landscape. From solopreneurs to the global enterprise, companies are more connected than ever with their customers, employees, shareholders and stakeholders.

Enabled by connectivity and powered by the cloud, this is more than just “Marketecture,” this is the engine of our business future. Millennial leaders are strongly committed to embracing these technologies and putting them to use in a way that drives their organizations forward, leaning on cloud applications to keep employees connected with anyone, anywhere, anytime. This allows business to continue 24×7×365 if needed, yet provides employees ultimate flexibility to untether from their desks and remain productive.

I don’t see anything wrong with that, do you?

And then there is social media. This phenomenon isn’t just about tweeting #hashtags on Twitter and posting  “likes” on Facebook. Social media offers a whole new way for humans to engage and extend our communities through the most powerful business-building infrastructure in the world — the Internet.

Thanks to social powers, the timeline for building a global business has compressed from decades to days, because word can spread and new markets can be created at a such a dramatically accelerated pace. New ventures everywhere can instantly reach out to potential partners and target markets to ask questions and find solutions for the most simple and complex business problems.

Building the Future, Differently

When the Beatles came to America, they permanently redefined rock and roll. Adding their collective influence to the voices of their time, they made music better for all of us who followed. And today, through social synergy, Millennial leaders seek to do the same for business.

Leaning on the best ideas and innovations that have previously defined success across industries, the CEOs of the future are not content to settle for the status quo. The goals of next-generation leaders may be similar to those before us in some ways, but they are different enough, so our mark will be felt.

We will leverage breakthrough cloud and big data resources to develop businesses that are inherently social, and we’ll create cultures that thrive on collaboration. Like leaders throughout history, our goal is to solve business problems effectively, but we’ll approach those problems very differently. Building a smarter planet through technology is exactly what the Millennial CEO of the future is destined to do.

What role do you think technology plays in next-generation business success? What must Millennial leaders do to succeed in a hyper-connected marketplace? Share your ideas in the comments area.

(Editor’s Note: This post was adapted from the Building a Smarter Planet Blog, with permission.)

Image Credit: Wikimedia Public Domain image archives

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

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!)

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Hiring Interns? Choose Wisely (Infographic)

“Good Enough” May Not Be So Good

If you’re looking to add value to your company, taking on an intern who’s only “good enough” just doesn’t cut it. Of course, every internship applicant isn’t going to knock your socks off with stellar skills, experience, and a fresh perspective. But what should you expect?

Let’s face it: Hiring interns can be a challenge. Although candidates may look good on paper, interviews often reveal a whole different story. Some students and recent graduates may stumble into your office lacking any knowledge or interest in your company. Others may offer attractive skills or experience, but want a hefty salary. And others may balk at an entry-level role that seems uninspiring.

What To Do?

Building a strong internship program starts with a long-term vision. It’s about finding talented young candidates who demonstrate potential to transform into full-time hires. What should you look for on you mission to find a rockstar? Consider the “best” and “worst” profiles in the following infographic from InternMatch, an online platform that specializes in connecting intern candidates and employers. It highlights some fascinating statistics about Millennials (aka Generation Y):

  • 89% say that constantly learning on the job is important
  • 40% think they’re smarter than their boss
  • 40% say they should be promoted every two years, regardless of performance
  • 50% prefer unemployment to working at a job they hate

What Have You Discovered In Hiring Interns?

Do you agree with these statistics? What traits matter most when you hire interns from today’s pool of young talent? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

InternMatch Infographic Best and Worst Intern Candidates

Class of 2013 Goes To Work #TChat Recap

Written by guest blogger, Katie Paterson

The HR community is so generous! This week at the SHRM conference in Chicago, as well as in online #TChat discussions, you’ve helped Achievers and TalentCulture spotlight issues and opportunities facing the next wave of graduates who are entering the workforce.

The ideas flowed freely throughout the week, from the moment we started pouring margaritas at our #SHRM13 booth! Below are summary points about key #TChat topics, followed by resource links and a Storify highlights slideshow. Thanks to everyone for contributing such useful insights!

Social Tools For Job Seekers

LinkedIn received resounding support as the top social hiring hub. Twitter earned some votes as a secondary portal, with other major players like Facebook and Google+ mentioned in supporting roles.

An interesting sidebar thread touched on tools for showcasing professional portfolios. Pinterest was mentioned as a smart choice, as well as tools designed specifically for portfolios, such as Seelio.

Onboarding Improvement

Mentoring received popular support as a way to strengthen employee indoctrination. Workplace “sherpas” are a natural, easy way to introduce new hires to company culture, workgroup standards, and individual responsibilities. And #TChat-ters agreed that this practice is effective for both recent grads, as well as workforce veterans.

“Buddy systems” were also mentioned as a way to connect new hires with one another as they move through the new-hire experience together. Seasoned employees can offer organizational context, but new hires can bond as they learn from each other, in parallel.

Performance Evaluation Frequency

I think @ValaAfshar said it best:

The #TChat community universally applauded continuous constructive feedback, and @Achievers couldn’t agree more. Several chat participants pushed the concept further — indicating that those who are responsible for providing for feedback should also ask for feedback and suggestions, in return.

Why Recognize Employees?

This point might be preaching to the choir, because #TChat-ters were emphatic about recognizing great performance. But it’s noteworthy that two kinds of benefits were mentioned:

1) Human motivation: Many responses focused out how important it is for individuals to hear about their progress — especially when they meet or exceed expectations.

2) Business advantage: Other comments focused on the fact that recognition helps align employees — reinforcing and redirecting work to keep everyone moving together toward organizational goals.

Improving Retention

To engage recent hires, you recommended multiple ways of involving them in the organization. We couldn’t agree more! Offering meaningful work, fostering an inclusive team environment, and tying individual contributions to a broader mission keeps employees engaged and coming back for more.

It’s important to ask for opinions, provide opportunities for growth, and demonstrate consistently that employees are valued. If you inspire passion in your employees, they’ll reward you — not only by remaining loyal, by being your most consistent and vocal ambassadors.

For more information on what motivates the graduating class of 2013, check out Achievers’ latest whitepaper.

#TChat Week in Review

WED 6/12

#TChat Sneak Peek:  Kevin W. Grossman examined the emotional factors that drive employee engagement in a teaser post: “Feeling The Future Of Work: #TChat Meets #SHRM13.”

SAT 6/15

#TChat Preview: Our Community Manager, Tim McDonald, introduced the week’s topics and special #SHRM13 events in his post, “Stronger! #TChat Preview #SHRM13 Edition.”

SUN 6/16

Forbes.com Post: In her weekly Forbes column, TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro, offered advice about how companies should attract and retain next-generation talent. Read “Smart Leaders Engage Tomorrow’s Workforce.”

MON 6/17

Margarita Monday Meet-up: #SHRM13 attendees timed-out with Meghan and Kevin at the Achievers booth, while hearing about the latest research on “The Class of 2013: Understanding the Needs of the Future Workforce.” If you missed this event, we invite you to attend the Achievers webinar on June 26 (or on-demand after that date).

WED 6/19

#TChat Twitter: #TChat-ters came together on the Twitter stream for our dynamic weekly idea exchange. If you missed the real-time Twitter action, or would like to review highlights, watch the slideshow below:

#TChat Twitter Highlights: “Looking Forward: Class of 2013”

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-looking-forward-the-graduating-cla.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about the Class of 2013, or future workforce opportunities and challenges? 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’re tackling a big topic — literally! Big Data in HR! Stay tuned for details this weekend. And remember: starting next week #TChat Radio moves to Wednesday nights at 6:30pmET — back-to-back with #TChat Twitter!

Until then, the World of Work conversation continues each day. 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!

katieprofile.lpeg(Author Profile: Katie Paterson is the Social Media Community Manager at Achievers, where she is focused on building an online community of Human Resources professionals who want to learn how engaged employees can impact business results. She is passionate about the world of social media, its impact on the workforce, and how it can be integrated into the our lives personally and professionally.)

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

 

Best-of-All-Ages Workplace #TChat Recap

Meeting of the Minds — Leaving Age at the Door

It can be done. Really. I’ve experienced it first-hand. I imagine you have, too. Many different people of all generations, gender, race, shapes and sizes can come together to create a unique, powerful and separate “whole.”

Think of industry conferences. Birds of a feather — flying in from near and far — converging in tiny groups — gathering around tables in a gigantic ballroom. We arrive brimming with energy and ideas to share. We offer attention and interest to others. We flock together — eager to exchange, to learn, to expand our perspective, to imagine possibilities.

Together We ARE Better

We’re united by our passion for world-of-work topics. Topics that touch us all, everyday — in the main office, the home office and the office-like locales in between. This is the beauty of social learning environments. But, of course, like all things social, this is not a homogeneous pack, and our behavior reflects that reality.

Some cluster with peers from their current work groups. Others gravitate to colleagues from long ago in their careers — reconnecting and catching up. Still others seem slightly disconnected, as they focus intently on real-time smart phone connections. On occasion, we hear a witty quip that hints at generational differences, like, “What if I’m really not Pinterested in that social site?”

Some managers and subordinates sit side-by-side, joking with one another about why they’re so afraid to tweet on behalf of their company, even after receiving formal permission. And there are thought leaders and panelists of all generations, discussing the value of trading isolated metrics for integrated analysis that can elevate business by driving growth, engagement and the bottom line.

No, we don’t all work together in the same mother ship. But then again, we kinda do. After all, with all of its many variations, there really is only one world of work.

A Collaborative Conference Snapshot

SourcingRecruiting_Summit2013_Logo-700pixelsThis model came to life for me this week at the Recruiting Trends Social Sourcing and Recruitment Summit in Washington, DC. An eclectic room, for sure, although many participants work for government agencies, or government contractors — not the first thing that springs to mind when we think of organizations at the forefront of open, transparent, social business models. However, Meghan M. Biro and I moderated a discussion with some very smart folk about social business and social HR trends and issues. And the end of the day, we all agreed that a sound social recruiting strategy comes from understanding how different social sites complement one another, not how they compete.

In many ways, it echoes what we learned from this week’s #TChat conversations about age bias in the workplace. Organizations are comprised of many people who span multiple generations. Through workplace collaboration, we can dispel harmful stereotypes, while simultaneously gaining business value by leveraging the complementary strengths of team members.

#TChat Week-in-Review: Guests

It truly takes a “village” to run a professional community — and this week proved the point, as we took on “The No Labels Workforce.” Experts from across all generations helped us examine myths and truths that perpetuate workplace stereotypes, and helped us consider how to move beyond those perceptions.

WilsonHCGVidShot

Watch videos with Ashley Lauren Perez & John Wilson

The common thread throughout this week was Ashley Lauren Perez, a WilsonHCG Sourcing Specialist, who is also a valued #TChat Ambassador and a highly regarded HR blogger in her own right. Thank you Ashley, for your contributions to the TalentCulture community – not just this week, but on an ongoing basis! And thanks to everyone else who participated!

#TChat Week-in-Review: Resources

SAT 4/6  Google+ Hangout “sneak peek” videos:  Our community manager Tim McDonald, briefly framed the week’s issues with two human resources management experts from WilsonHCG John Wilson, Founder and CEO, and Ashley Lauren Perez.

SUN 4/7  Forbes.com column: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro, tackled generational bias head-on in her poast, 5 Ways to Smash Generational Stereotypes.

MON 4/8  We outlined the week’s theme and key questions in the #TChat Preview: Age at Work: Just a Number?

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Listen to the #TChat Radio show recording now

TUE 4/9  #TChat Radio: Host Meghan Biro examined workplace age bias with three talent management experts — WilsonHCG Recruiting Director Cynthia Cancio and Sourcing Specialist Ashley Lauren Perez; along with Recruiting Trends’ Sr. Director, Anna Brekka,

Ashley also contributed a thoughtful blog post about this topic: Age at Work: Moving Beyond Birthdays

WED 4/10  #TChat Twitter The whole community came together on the Twitter stream to talk about age in the workplace — similarities and differences, strengths and weaknesses, myths and realities. As you can imagine, there was no shortage of personal opinions, professional perspectives and ideas for how we can let go of stereotypes and leverage talent, across generations. In

#TChat Twitter Highlights Slideshow: “Age at Work: Just a Number?”

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-age-at-work-just-a-number.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

SPECIAL THANKS: Again, thanks to Ashley Lauren Perez, John WilsonAnna Brekka, and Cynthia Cancio for contributing your time and expertise to help us dig deeper into generational biases in the workplace. Your insights and expertise brought depth and dimension to the discussion.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about “humans as a service” or related issues? We’re happy to share your thoughts. Just 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’ll take a look at the trends and technologies that are defining today’s world of work, with our special guest, Elliot Clark, CEO & Chairman of SharedXpertise, the publishers of HRO Today.

Until then, we’ll continue the World of Work conversation 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 blog/community website. The lights are always on at TalentCulture, and your ideas and opinions are always welcome.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Image credit: Pixabay

Age at Work: Moving Beyond Birthdays

“How old are you?”

What do you feel, think, and say when you hear that question in the workplace? Do you suddenly get tense, wondering how others will perceive your answer? You’re not alone.

No matter when you were born or what kind of upbringing you’ve had, you’ve likely dealt with some sort of label. And regardless of the situation, we can all agree that no one likes to be unfairly stereotyped. Despite attempts by organizational leaders and HR to reduce discrimination and adversity, it still lingers in some forms. Not surprisingly, age-related stereotyping is on the rise, now that more organizations have a multigenerational workforce.

Generational Generalizations

As recent studies illustrate, every generation is affected by damaging biases. For example, do profiles like this sound familiar?

  • Baby Boomers = materialistic, technologically illiterate micro-managers
  • Generation Xers = cynical, disloyal and skeptical of authority
  • Generation Y “Millennials” = lazy, entitled and self-serving

Although these generalizations may have emerged for a reason, why should we assume that they are widely applicable or even relevant? Perhaps some high-profile individuals have displayed these characteristics, but their actions shouldn’t be the basis for defining a whole generation.

The Price of Stereotypes

More often than not, typecasting like this comes from lack of awareness, communication or understanding. It’s important to identify this issue quickly and bridge the gap, before it destroys our talent pools. Otherwise, organizations are at risk of missing out on the strongest talent — internally or externally.

What Can Individuals Do?

As I continue to progress in my career and become more involved in networking opportunities, I make it a point to avoid conversation about my age. Quite frankly, it’s not important. And, as a Millennial, the last thing I want others to do is marginalize my capabilities upfront. I don’t want them to presume I am a lazy or cynical person — I want them to evaluate me for my skills, abilities, goals and accomplishments. Isn’t that how it should be?

The workplace is rapidly developing into a collaborative environment, where everyone is expected to step up and contribute toward common goals. To do this effectively, employees must avoid animosity toward one another that starts with preconceived notions about age. We need to let go of misplaced biases and instead focus on the thing that matters — an individual’s capacity to contribute something valuable to the team and to the organization.

I look forward to engaging the TalentCulture community in a dialogue about this topic — not just at this week’s #TChat Twitter forum, but beyond. It’s important to every one of us. So, I ask you to consider one simple question:

How are you creating a “no labels” workplace?

(Editor’s Note: Want to hear more from Ashley? She was a featured guest last night on #TChat Radio “The No Labels Workforce.” Listen on-demand, anytime. She also moderated #TChat Twitter this week. To read the full recap of this week’s events, see “The Best-of-All-Ages Workplace #TChat Recap”)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Age at Work: Just a Number? #TChat Preview

(Editorial Note: Want to read the RECAP of this week’s events? See The Best-of-All-Ages Workplace #TChat Recap)

What’s the truth about the interplay of generations in today’s workplace? Are we moving forward, or do “generation gaps” still hold us to the past?

Is this topic old news? I feel like it might be. Not sure if it’s just me. Perhaps I’m just wishfully thinking we should have moved on by now. But it’s important. And it deserves another look.

Age Stereotypes: A Reality Check

So, just between us, let me ask: Do you still catch yourself making snap judgments about people based solely on their age? Boomers, Gen Y, Gen X…whatever.  We fret over how to recruit Millennials. We wonder how to manage them versus others. Does all this conscious attention to generational differences help or hinder progress?

Age-based stereotyping is deeply ingrained in our history, our culture and our collective social psyche. Now, in the 21st century world of work, it holds back individual advancement, business performance and innovation. But how do we move past reactions that seem almost second-nature? That’s the topic we’re tackling this week, in the TalentCulture community.

Getting Over Generational Bias: Growing Pains

WilsonHCGVidShot

Watch the #TChat “Sneak Peek” videos now…

To begin the conversation, I suggested ways to smash age-based stereotypes in my Forbes.com column yesterday.

Rethinking stereotypes requires some deep internal soul searching. Gaining self awareness is the first step — and it’s not necessarily easy.

Facing your biases is an emotional exercise, as well as an intellectual one. But the process can be highly rewarding for professionals and the companies they serve. Fortunately, now there’s strength in numbers, as our #TChat forums take on generational stereotypes as a collaborative effort.

#TChat Weekly Topic: The “No Labels” Workforce

Leading us through this week’s conversation are two human resources management experts from WilsonHCG John Wilson, Founder and CEO, and Ashley Lauren Perez, Sourcing Specialist. Both John and Ashley helped us set the stage for this week’s topic in brief Google+ Hangout “sneak peek” videos. Check them out now!

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Tune into #TChat Radio live on Tuesday or on-demand after

I hope you’ll plan to join us at #TChat events this week, where we’ll take a closer look at labels in the workplace, and how to build cultures that value diversity in all of its forms:

As always, throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter stream and on our new LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us and share your thoughts, concerns, opinions and ideas.

#TChat Weekly Questions

Why not start now? Take a moment to consider this week’s discussion guide and tell us what you think. Your comments are welcome, early and often:

Q1:  In the world of work, how are the generations the same? Why?
Q2:  With Millennials, we have myriad misconceptions. But for all generations, what are the most pervasive?
Q3:  What is the role of leaders in helping to smash stereotypes about generations in the workforce?
Q4:  Does tech facilitate cross-generational interaction? Why/not? How can we forge more connections?
Q5:  Innovation and free-thinking go hand-in-hand. But does innovation ever encourage age stereotyping? Why?

We’ll see you on the stream!

Image Credit: Flickr – Mark Turnauckas

 

“No Labels” Workforce: Sneak Peek Videos

(Editorial Note: Want to read the RECAP of this week’s events? See The Best-of-All-Ages Workplace #TChat Recap)

Age discrimination. Sometimes it’s very subtle. Sometimes it’s painfully obvious. Either way, it still can play a role in workplace culture. How can organizations move beyond the labels that hold back individuals, teams and corporate performance?

That’s our focus this week in the TalentCulture community. Our guests sat down for several minutes in Google+ Hangouts with me to discuss several key issues. Check it out:

One of our very own #TChat Ambassadors, Ashley Lauren Perez, defines key terms and offers advice for professionals who are considered part of “Generation Y”…

Next, Ashley’s boss, John Wilson, Founder and CEO WilsonHCG.com briefly explains why labels don’t make sense in the world of work…

It promises to be a fascinating week! The more voices who join the conversation, the better.

So join us at #TChat events this week, where we’ll take a closer look at labels in the workplace, and how to build cultures that value diversity in all of its forms:

NOTE: If you don’t see the G+ Hangout videos above in this post, you can watch them on YouTube:

"No Labels" Workforce: Sneak Peek Videos

(Editorial Note: Want to read the RECAP of this week’s events? See The Best-of-All-Ages Workplace #TChat Recap)

Age discrimination. Sometimes it’s very subtle. Sometimes it’s painfully obvious. Either way, it still can play a role in workplace culture. How can organizations move beyond the labels that hold back individuals, teams and corporate performance?

That’s our focus this week in the TalentCulture community. Our guests sat down for several minutes in Google+ Hangouts with me to discuss several key issues. Check it out:

One of our very own #TChat Ambassadors, Ashley Lauren Perez, defines key terms and offers advice for professionals who are considered part of “Generation Y”…

Next, Ashley’s boss, John Wilson, Founder and CEO WilsonHCG.com briefly explains why labels don’t make sense in the world of work…

It promises to be a fascinating week! The more voices who join the conversation, the better.

So join us at #TChat events this week, where we’ll take a closer look at labels in the workplace, and how to build cultures that value diversity in all of its forms:

NOTE: If you don’t see the G+ Hangout videos above in this post, you can watch them on YouTube:

The State of the Multigenerational World of Work: #TChat Preview

Here’s an interesting people factoid: At least three generations are playing in the workplace sandbox today, with a fourth set to join soon. The Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y are about to welcome Gen Z, sometimes called Gen 9/11. And we have more expected to arrive in the next decade.

While the entrance of a new generation into the workplace often signals the exit of another, we don’t expect Boomers to move on to retirement as quickly as anticipated. Longer lifespans, better healthcare and a failing economy are creating unusual pressure on would-be retirees, keeping many in the workplace — and skewing the demand curve for younger workers. Plus, Boomers are a populous generation, and their sheer numbers constitute a variable contributing to these circumstances.

All of this puts enormous pressure on leadership and HR. What some may miss, however, is how much pressure it puts on workers in the multigenerational workplace. Older workers may fear layoffs designed to bring in younger, cheaper labor. They are scrambling to keep skills current. Young workers may be exasperated by mature workers who are perceived as less hip to social technologies, yet the younger ones may lack the ability and seasoning to be strategic and make good decisions.

So how do HR professionals, their leadership and other business leaders keep the peace in the multigenerational workforce? And how do they keep pace? Fresh blood needs to be coming in — even when there’s a hiring freeze. How can you ensure that everyone has access to the training necessary to keep skills current? How do you keep talent motivated for that training? A mixed team must pull in the same direction. That’s a challenge.

Join us Wednesday for “#TChat, The World of Work,” when we’ll be looking at the impact of the multigenerational workplace on leadership, HR and recruiting. Here are this week’s questions:

Q1: There are fewer jobs today for all generations, so what are we to do?
Q2: How do the generations adapt their skill sets to what’s needed today in business?
Q3: Who are we loyal to today? The employer, the brand, the work and/or the team? And why?
Q4: What generation are you and what kind of communication and collaboration tech do you use for work? And why?
Q5: How do business leaders best marshal the talents of a multigenerational team?

Again, that’s #TChat on Wednesday, May 30, from 7-8 pm ET (6-7 pm CT, 4-5 pm PT, or wherever you are). Please join us to talk about the multigenerational workforce. Marla Gottschalk, a friend of mine who happens to be an industrial & organizational psychologist specializing in corporate culture, innovation strategies and organizational change, will be your moderator, backed up by me (@MeghanMBiro) and Kevin W. Grossman (@KevinWGrossman). Supporting us as we all field and respond to your many tweets will be Sean Charles (@SocialMediaSean), Salima Nathoo (@SocialSalima) and Brent Skinner (@BrentSkinner). We’ve got multiple generations on our minds, so join us. See you there!

image credit: Generation Gap, by xflickrx

Add Productivity to Your Summer Vacation

Written by Kirsten Taggart

Ahhh, summer vacation – my favorite time of year. This summer, however, is a very significant summer as it is my last before I graduate from academia and start my life as a “real” person in May 2012.  Naturally I’ve been thinking about how I can spend my last summer of freedom in a productive, yet fun way.  After talking with my GenY friends about different summer goals, here is my list of how you can make the most out of your summer vacation.

1.  Apply for a Job or Internship

By this point in the year you’ve probably sent in your applications and have started to hear back from potential employers.  No matter what position you decide to take, don’t forget to prepare before your first day.  Map out how long it will take you to get to the office so you can arrive early.  Are you driving or taking public transportation? Check train and bus schedules just in case.  Did they ask you to bring certain items with you?  Gather everything you’ll need the night before so you won’t forget anything on your way out.  Being prepared will help to calm your nerves and stay confident on your big day.

2.  If You’ve Missed Application Deadlines…

…there’s no need to panic. Positions can open up at any time even after the summer rush.  Finding them can be tricky, so maximize your resources.  Who do you know that can help? Are your previous employers still hiring?  Have you checked Craigslist or other job boards? Shoot an email to your professors who might have connections in your field.  There are people willing to help you – you just have to ask!

3.  Learn a New Skill

It’s important to stay mentally active even if you are on vacation. Experts are finding we lose much of our mental agility during long breaks when we aren’t challenging our minds as we normally would at school (because isn’t that what a vacation is for?).  Luckily for us, it doesn’t take much to maintain your wit.  If you’re busy at your job or internship for the majority of your day, make it a point to pick up a newspaper before your morning commute or start that book you’ve been meaning to read (or if you despise reading for some reason, this will do just fine).  If you have more time to spare, why not take on a light summer class? I’m not suggesting you enroll in a hefty physics course by any means (unless you like that kind of stuff, in which case more power to you…) but look into classes that will knock some credits out of the way or are just plain fun.  Why not take that photography/dance/cooking/whatever class you’ve had your eye on? Now’s your chance!

4.  Travel

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it is beautiful outside! Take advantage of the summer weather.  Plan a trip somewhere to escape your weekly routine even if it’s simply exploring a new area of your city or town.  Plan a trip with some friends for a long weekend or, if you’re especially adventurous, set aside a week to travel to a foreign city.  You only live once!

5.  Plan Ahead for Fall

Start thinking about your goals for the upcoming semester.  What do you want to achieve this year?  Send your applications for internships and jobs before the deadline so you’re not rushing at the last minute (there’s nothing more annoying than finding cover letter typos after you submitted it).  Review your class schedule – are there any changes that can be made to better suit your learning habits (i.e. early vs late classes, class on every day of the week or concentrated on only two or three, etc)?  What books do you need to buy?  If you are applying for a job or internship consider how it will fit into your academic calendar and discuss with your employer how you aim to balance both obligations.

IMAGE VIA Giorgio Montersino

Candidate Experience: Internship Applicants Are People Too

Written by Kevin Wang

As college students are finally starting to understand the long-term value of internships and actively pursuing them, it has subsequently become more difficult for them to successfully secure one. For example, in 2009, advertising agency Mullen received almost 600 summer internship applications from all over the United States for only 24 slots in their Boston office. The rise in internship applicants has kept Recruiting and Human Resource departments busy, burdening them with a flood of cover letters and resumes to review.

There are many great articles scattered across blogs on the Internet, focusing on what proper etiquette for internship applicants should be. Students are reminded to always send thank-you notes, maintain a professional tone in the cover letter, and research companies before interviews, along with many other bits of valuable and timeless career advice.

However, I’ve rarely seen anyone discuss what proper candidate experience etiquette should be when handling and communicating with internship applicants from the workplace perspective. With record numbers of applicants and applications, it’s very easy for hiring departments to forget that each individual application was painstakingly filled out by an actual human being, and carries the hopes and dreams of that individual. It’s also carelessly easy to view individual applicants as one of many and disregard them. By doing so, businesses are permanently damaging their relationships with their biggest fans and alienating their most enthusiastic advocates. Prospective interns, while at the bottom of the hierarchy at any organization, still deserve to be treated fairly.

Here’s how leaders can improve their workplace culture branding experience and better handle the internship applicant communication:

  • Be clear up front about the details of the program. That includes properly communicating the expected hours, responsibilities, pay, and other elements. If students aren’t eligible, straight up tell them! Email the applicants if any significant changes occur to the program.
  • Send a decision, regardless of whether it’s positive or not. It may sting for them to be told that they didn’t make it, but they’ll respect you for it.
  • Complete the review process in a timely manner. Students don’t have all the time in the world to finalize their plans for the upcoming semester or summer. Let them know as early as possible so they can assess their options well before crunch time.
  • Leave the door open. Don’t kick your rejected applicants to the curb. Let them know that they’re just unfortunately part of of an extremely competitive pool, and encourage them to apply again in the future.
  • Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Stress to all your employees that internal referrals for an applicant does NOT guarantee them a position. Also, don’t mislead applicants or hint at anything with correspondence. It’s better to be tight-lipped about the whole affair until you’re ready to make announcements.

Finally, the Golden Rule: treat others the way you would want to be treated.

We may be interns, and maybe that’s not much, but remember, we’re people too.

IMAGE VIA Flickr

Embracing Generational Differences in the Workplace?

On a recent #TChat, the topic was Generations in the Workplace.  It’s always intriguing to hear people talk about this in HR because this isn’t a “new” issue.  There have been generations in the workplace – FOREVER!

Also, many HR people and consultants alike tend to want to take this topic to the point of emphasizing the differences between generations instead of focusing on their strengths.  HR would be such a powerful force in organizations if we broke the paradigm of “Let’s fix what’s wrong or different” and instead approached issues from a position of strength and identified how these differences make us more valuable.

Let me give you an example . . .

Growing up, I got hooked on rock music and one of the first mind-blowing groups I couldn’t get enough of was Led Zeppelin.  Now, even though this may date me, I listened to these rock gods on vinyl – Glorious, crackly vinyl.  I wore out my albums listening to them over and over.

When I got towards the end of high school, people starting recording music on cassettes.  Now you could take your music with you to play in your car, in other people’s houses on their stereo systems, or even in your Sony Walkman.  We were amazed that music could travel with us.

Then, in college I actually remember the day when a fellow student brought in a shiny round disc and said it was music.  I didn’t believe him, but as he laid the disc into this gigantic box of a player – here came Led Zeppelin in crystal clear sound.  No cracks, no skips – just Jimmy Page and Robert Plant bringing the rock.

After college, music continued to evolve and this thing called the iPod came along and now I could get music digitally.  Not only that, but I could add the other 5,000+ songs from my CD, cassette and vinyl collections all on one player AND take it with me!

So, what does Led Zeppelin and modes of music have to do with generations?  It’s simple . . . even though I have listened to Led Zeppelin on albums, cassettes, CDs and an iPod . . . the music remained the same.

Just as the four generations in our current workplaces are from different eras, the value and quality of their skills, knowledge and work remain the same.  Our modes may be different with technology or flextime or other cultural issues, but in the end the generations are always working to the same goal of great work and a great company,

So, quit trying to tear generations apart.  Let’s focus on the strengths that every generation brings to work every day!

Do Generations Matter At Work?: #TChat Preview

Originally posted by Matt Charneyone of #TChat’s moderators, on MonsterThinking Blog

In 2012, the first members of Gen Y turn 30.  And while thought leaders and academics continue to depict millennials as this strange, unprecedented breed to be studied and analyzed (Bieber fever being an obvious symptom), that generation’s cutting edge has been busy acclimating into the workforce, where they’ve been for over 5 years.

Of course, this potentially disruptive force on the workplace entered a market where the workplace was already disrupted by forces far stronger than helicopter parents and socialized narcissism.

Contrary to popular myth, it’s not Gen Y who’s changing the workplace; it’s the workplace that’s changing Gen Y.  Those lucky enough to get the paucity of jobs are no longer naïve idealists, but battle hardened survivors.

While some Gen X and Boomers struggle with being overqualified, most of Gen Y haven’t had the chance to pick up those qualifications.  This new world of work, of virtual offices and inter-connectivity and contract gigs, looks a lot like the kind of impact Gen Y workers were supposed to have made. Instead, they’ve inherited what’s become their – and our – collective reality.

They call Gen Y digital natives, but in fact, most of those millennials in the workforce remember life without an internet; those who can’t remember life without social media are still in diapers.  When those true “digital natives” enter the workforce, the millennials of today are going to look a lot like Gen Xers do now.  Who’ll look a lot like Boomers today.

For Gen Y, home ownership is likely a dream that will never be realized; so too is the possibility of a defined and linear career path, job security, employer benefits, pensions or a gold watch at retirement.  Even retirement itself looks iffy.

So, it  turns out that generations in the workplace share more in common than a workplace.

We’re all just trying to do the best we can, while learning as much as we can along the way.  And aspiration is a trait that transcends generations.  We’re hoping to do the same with tonight’s #TChat, where the topic tonight is: “Do Generations Matter At Work?”

Do Generations Matter at Work?  – #TChat Questions and Recommended Reading (3.1.11)

Whether you’re a Boomer, a Gen Xer, a Millennial or an “other,” we hope you can join the #TChat conversation about generations at work tonight at 8 PM ET.

Here are the questions we’ll be discussing, along with some recommended reading to help inform, and inspire, your understanding of tonight’s topic of generations in the workplace.

Q1)  What myths exist about workplace generational dynamics? Generational realities?

Read: Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number by Matt Charney

Q2)  Are there emerging personality traits, skill sets for hiring GenY, GenX, Baby Boomers, etc.?

Read: The Non-Generational Talent of American Workers by Peter Weddle

Q3)  Who is currently the most “invisible” generation in the workplace and why? Most “visible”?

Read: Just Shut Up and Listen to What Younger Workers Have to Say by Ron Thomas

Q4) How do savvy workplace cultures recruit, engage, manage and lead all generations?

Read:A Modern Perspective on Generations and Engagement by Ryan Estis

Q5) How does new media and global connectivity help/hinder generational gaps in the workplace?

Read: The Aging Workforce and Gen Y: Bridge the Social Media Generation Gap by Rob Salkowitz

Q6) How can inter-generational workforces spark innovation and evolve culture?

Read: The ‘Whys’ for Gen Y: Workplace Culture Considerations by Heather Huhman

Q7) How does the term “reverse mentoring” help bridge generational divides in the workplace?

Read: Manager’s Tips to Mend Intergenerational Communication by Kate Wildrick

Visit www.talentculture.com for more great information on #TChat and resources on culture fatigue and how to overcome it!

Our Monster social media team supports the effort behind #TChat and its mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate – the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”

We’ll be joining the conversation live every Tuesday night as co-hosts with Kevin Grossman and Meghan M. Biro from 8-9 PM E.T. via @monster_works and @MonsterWW.  Hope to see you tonight at 8 PM ET for #TChat!

The 'Whys' for Gen Y: Workplace Culture Considerations

Today’s young professionals want different things than previous generations before them. Organizations are learning they need to adapt in order to attract these talented Millennials to their workplaces. What does Gen Y seek in an ideal workplace culture?

Flexibility

Gen Y values a high starting salary and financial security, but they also value flexibility in their work schedule and benefits. According to statistics, about 85% of Gen Y members want to spend 30-70% of their time working from home. In order to attract top talent from Generation Y, an organization’s workplace must provide some degree of flexibility.

Mentorship

Young professionals need someone to help guide them through their first years as entry-level professionals. When choosing an ideal workplace, their number one request was to work with a manager they could respect and learn from. Not sure where to start? Read my previous post about how to create and sustain a mentorship program.

Professional Tevelopment

Members of Generation Y thrive on ongoing learning and professional development opportunities. They typically are already thinking beyond their current role and realize they need con

State-of-the-Art Technology

According to statistics, Millennials rank working with state-of-the-art technology number six on their list of ideal workplace environment. Because young professionals grew up in the age of quickly evolving technology and trends, they expect the same in their place of work.

A Challenge

Although many people peg Gen Y as “job hoppers,” they often leave their jobs because they’re simply bored. Provide a challenge for them in the workplace by giving them more responsibility or the lead on a new project to keep them interested in their work.

Opportunity for Advancement

Show Gen Y employees they’ll have more than just a job if they work for you—they’ll have the opportunity to have increased responsibility, gain new skills and make more money if they stick around.

For more on what Gen Y expects in a workplace, check out this infographic loaded with statistics here.