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Mentoring and the Employee Connection

Podcast Sponsored by: Together

According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, experts believe that high levels of loneliness and disengagement at work caused by the pandemic could be addressed by mentoring. Additionally, surveys have shown that more than 90% of professionals who work with first-generation college students through mentoring and career development programs believe their experience as a mentor has helped them become better leaders or managers at work.

Our Guest: Matt Reeves

On our latest #WorkTrends podcast, I spoke with Matt Reeves, CEO of Together, a software platform focused on enabling companies to run best-in-class internal mentorship programs. Together Software helps organizations run internal mentorship programs that intelligently match every employee with the best person for them to learn from. We asked Matt to tell us what a mentorship program is. He explains:

A mentorship program within an organization is where you’re pairing two colleagues together, usually a more junior employee who’s the mentee with a more senior employee who’s the mentor, for career development and career guidance. Typically, these employees meet on a particular cadence like once a month over a year or even more.

Mentorship programs are becoming more and more in demand by employees who crave a better employee experience and career guidance. In addition, mentorship programs can help companies with employee retention, which helps drive bottom-line results. But, programs are evolving as the workforce changes. Matt:

We’ve seen companies breaking the mold and experimenting with different types of mentorship programs with the common thread being helping their employees learn from their colleagues through conversations.

The Flavors of Mentorship

There are different types of mentorship approaches. Some are more traditional, and some are more out of the box. The best match for a company depends on the needs of the employees.

The traditional approach is a one-on-one program. You have a more senior mentor mentoring a more junior mentee for a specific period. Certainly, peer programs are very common, as well as reverse programs where you have a less senior employee who’s perhaps more experienced in a particular topic mentoring a more senior employee. And then where we see many organizations have a lot of success in breaking the mold is on the duration piece of the program and adding flexibility for the participants.

Benefits for the Mentor and Mentee

Both mentor and mentee have different reasons for wanting to participate in a mentorship program. Matt explains:

I think most people understand why a mentee would want to participate – to learn, develop and progress in their career. I think they want to participate on the mentor side because they are more senior. When you’re more senior in an organization, you are expected to be a people developer and culture carrier.

This is also something participants can bring to performance reviews and use in conversations around promotion and compensation as part of a company’s overall performance assessment of their employees.

Technology and the Mentorship Experience 

Our final question to Matt – we asked him his thoughts on using technology to keep mentors and mentees connected. He answered:

From an administrative standpoint, it significantly reduces the workload. From the employee standpoint, there is a much-improved employee experience. For example, a manual program can take time to match mentor and mentee. Not a great experience if you’re paired with someone who has left the organization. Something easily avoidable if you’re using technology.

I hope you found this recent episode of #WorkTrends informative and inspiring. For tips and ideas on what a mentorship program could look like for your organization, go to togetherplatform.com.

Subscribe to the #WorkTrends podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. Be sure to follow our #WorkTrends hashtag on LinkedIn and Facebook, too, for more great conversations!

#WorkTrends Recap: Mentoring: Women Elevating Women

Success in business does not happen alone. Most successful people will tell you that mentorship has played a big part in their journey to the top. Mentorship, whether it occurs in or out of the workplace, has numerous personal benefits, especially for women.

This week on #WorkTrends, we were joined by Valerie Martinelli, previously of the Center for Economic & Policy Development, Inc. She discussed the pros of mentorship and how women in the workplace can develop a support system for elevating the cause of women in the workplace. Valerie also shared the widespread benefits of mentoring programs and how these are important programs for employers to institute into their culture.

Here are some other key points that she shared:

  • Mentors do not need to be older or wiser but the person must be able to give value
  • It should be a give and take relationship when it comes to mentoring
  • Being mentored takes guts. You have to be prepared for what your mentor is giving you.

Did you miss the show? You can listen to the #WorkTrends podcast on our BlogTalk Radio channel here: http://bit.ly/2jfF2Mf

You can also check out the highlights of the conversation from our Storify here:

Didn’t make it to this week’s #WorkTrends show? Don’t worry, you can tune in and participate in the podcast and chat with us every Wednesday from 1-2pm ET (10-11am PT). On Jan 18 I will be joined by Igloo Software CEO Dan Latendre to discuss key trends in the digital workplace.

Remember, the TalentCulture #WorkTrends conversation continues every day across several social media channels. Stay up-to-date by following our #WorkTrends Twitter stream; pop into our LinkedIn group to interact with other members; or check out our Google+ community. Engage with us any time on our social networks, or stay current with trending World of Work topics on our website or through our weekly email newsletter.

Photo Credit: Global Sports Mentoring Program Flickr via Compfight cc

#WorkTrends Preview: Mentoring: Women Elevating Women

Mentorship, whether it occurs in or out of the workplace, has numerous personal benefits, especially for women.

Our guest, Valerie Martinelli, previously of the Center for Economic & Policy Development, Inc., will be discussing the pros of mentorship and how women in the workplace can develop a support system for elevating the cause of women in the workplace. Ms. Martinelli will also discuss the widespread benefits of mentoring programs and how these are important programs for employers to institute into their culture. She will discuss her experience and how utilizing mentorship, sponsorship, and coaching can help us learn to turn our weaknesses into strengths and how owning our careers is critical to success.

Join guest Valerie Martinelli and host Meghan M. Biro on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 at 1pm EST when they discuss this important and timely topic.

Mentoring: Women Elevating Women

#WorkTrends Logo Design

Join Valerie and me on our LIVE online podcast Wednesday, Jan 11 — 1 pm ET / 10 am PT.

Immediately following the podcast, the team invites the TalentCulture community over to the #WorkTrends Twitter stream to continue the discussion. We encourage everyone with a Twitter account to participate as we gather for a live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: What are the benefits of mentoring?  #WorkTrends (Tweet this question)

Q2: Why do women struggle with finding mentors?  #WorkTrends (Tweet this question)

Q3: How can companies create and support mentoring in the workplace? #WorkTrends (Tweet this question)

Don’t want to wait until next Wednesday to join the conversation? You don’t have to. I invite you to check out the #WorkTrends Twitter feed, our TalentCulture World of Work Community LinkedIn group, and our TalentCulture G+ community. Share your questions, ideas and opinions with our awesome community any time. See you there!

Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date!

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Photo Credit: Ars Electronica Flickr via Compfight cc

TalentCulture Corner Office With Regis Mulot, EVP Global HR, Staples

In this Corner Office article, Cyndy Trivella, Events Manager with TalentCulture, spoke with Regis Mulot, Executive VP Global Human Resources at Staples. They talked about the state of the workplace and how mentoring, innovation and multi-generations are impacting the progress of business. As with past interviews, this article will highlight the perspective and experience of someone who has made the move to the “corner office.”

Cyndy: I had a great conversation, recently, with Regis Mulot at Staples. Regis has an impressive HR background. Before joining Staples, he was the VP of HR, Community and Corporate Citizenship for Levi Strauss, based in Brussels, Belgium, supporting employees in 24 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa. Earlier in his career, he held senior HR leadership roles at Broadnet Europe, GTECH EMEA, and Chronopost.

Cyndy: Regis, because of your global experience, I’m interested in knowing about your point of view on innovation. First, do you believe it keeps companies relevant and timely, and if so, why do many companies still fall into the trap of “we’ve always done it that way?”

Regis: As we all know, change and risk-taking are challenging for individuals and organizations. We often see companies such as start-ups that are known to be innovative, struggle to maintain this core value over the long-term because it’s difficult and does not come naturally. Successful companies have institutionalized innovation within their organizations, making it part of the culture and leadership mindset. They put processes in place that enable associates to “work on something new” during their workday and innovate so that the company will ultimately prosper.

Cyndy: True. Being innovative means allowing change and does require a particular focus and shared long-term vision that must be culturally accepted to be enduring. Staying on the topic of innovation, I know the modern-day workplace and how it’s shaping the future workforce is an area of interest for you. One of the more important conversations we’ve been hearing about is mentoring. Why is it so important for there to be multi-directional mentoring in today’s workplace?

Regis: Mentoring programs have always been a “win-win” solution when mentees and mentors learn from each other. With the increased pace of our current business environment, change is constant and it is very difficult to stay at the forefront of new customer behaviors. Multi-directional (or Omni-directional) mentoring is a great way to address this, as it facilitates knowledge sharing and reinforces the need to break the functional or hierarchical silos. Good ideas and best practices don’t always come from the experienced leader, in many cases innovation, including the technological knowhow, is best taught by more junior associates. If this type of mentoring is done effectively, both sides will benefit from the experience.

Cyndy: I know many people who would agree with what you’ve said. Everyone has something to learn from another person and age shouldn’t be a factor. In line with what you just said, do you believe there are generational differences in the workplace or is this a perception cooked up by the media and others?

Regis: I don’t buy into the idea that Millennials are fundamentally different from Generation X or even Baby-boomers. However, the younger generation has a learning aptitude that is different, as they leverage social media, work across multiple platforms simultaneously, and prefer an environment that is almost paperless. The more experienced members of the workforce seem to express a little more caution when experiencing change, as was highlighted by our recent move [at Staples] to an open, collaborative space and away from the more traditional private work areas. So, even though learning is different between generations, there is no fundamental difference between the two. We are all looking for human interaction, consistent feedback, and better work life balance in a world that is accessible 24/7.

Cyndy: You bring up a good point here about people capitalizing on different ways of learning and you mention social media. Tell us more about how this venue lends itself to increased learning for employees.

Regis: Learning is about accessing relevant information in an environment where associates can be challenged, get insights, test concepts and retain. Social media provides a perfect venue where people can easily find pertinent materials, benchmark competitors and reference best practices at various companies. Personally, I use Twitter and LinkedIn to educate myself, as inspirational teachers and leaders often utilize these forums to share their knowledge with the masses. The combination of social media coupled with the emergence and popularity of mobile devices has created an environment for associates to be in a continuous learning mode with access to content anytime or anywhere.

Cyndy: Yes, social really is a wonderful up-to-the-minute venue for knowledge gathering. And with the advent of smart phones, learning can be done on the fly and anywhere companies have remote workers, which increases connectivity and communications for team building… a good thing.

Regis: Yes, the workplace is no longer comprised of people working together in one building. Business is global, and with that companies need to rise to the challenges of managing, training and communicating with remote workers.

Cyndy: Regis, we’re out of time. Thank you for speaking with me and sharing your perspective with our audience.

Regis: Thank you; I enjoyed it.

 

photo credit: Business Work via photopin (license)

5 Methods for Social Leadership: Try Reverse Mentoring

I’ve been thinking a lot about global leadership applications for social learning lately. I spend a portion of my time helping companies and leaders hire and retain the very best and most applicable talent based on personality and skill set so this is a topic on my mind literally on a weekly basis. I have run into a recurrent trending theme in the past few years – reverse mentoring. It’s no secret there are greater numbers of older workers in the workplace right now; many baby boomers have evaporated retirement funds due to the recession, which means fewer career positions for recent graduates.

Nevertheless, times are always changing in the world of work, new workers are entering the workplace with much different expectations for leaders and team culture. They may be less willing to play the game of climbing the corporate ladder and more convinced skipping rungs is the new norm as they navigate the management ranks. It’s inevitable that these generations will be in competition for jobs held by older workers, creating tension and potential workplace unhappiness. This is why I think the only antidote to this unavoidable outcome is mutual trust from leaders and employees alike.

You might be wondering: How do you build real trust in a workplace that is both social and multi-generational? Reverse mentoring is one way to do it while creating space to build enduring relationships that transcend age and pay grade.

Let’s be honest, if you’ve been in the workplace for more than a minute you’ve already been mentored, usually by an older worker but maybe even by someone younger than you are. Maybe it was your manager, or his or her manager, or a colleague from another department, but someone offered the lifeline of advice, informal training, support and cultural clues to help you thrive and survive in the organization. Is this YOU? These links are critical to individual development in a workplace culture where formal schooling and degrees give workers about five years’ worth of usable skills, say John Hagel, Co-chairman – Deloitte LLP Center for the Edge, and other people over at Harvard Business Review.

Time is a ticking at lightning social speed, and five years isn’t much time to build a career path, let alone pay off student loans. For older workers it may feel like a threat – if you earned your degree in 1982, how on earth can they expect you to keep up? The need to keep re-tooling skills underscores the value of mentoring, particularly bi-directional mentoring. Let’s look at how organizations can create a mentoring workplace culture which works both up and down the chain of relationships and leadership channels. Who knows, there may even be an argument for mentoring as an aid to reconcile older workers to the reality of being managed by younger, probably less experienced people.

The very best mentoring workplace cultures rely on a mix of formal, informal and social learning, explicit mentoring programs, support for cross-functional teams, and consistency in management treatment of the work population.

Here are 5 methods I suggest to build a workplace and leadership culture to support bi-directional “AKA” reverse mentoring:

  1. Create a management playbook for culture-building. Managers, especially in the HR side of the house, sometimes rely on employee handbooks and training as a way to transmit culture (and rules). Too often these programs don’t cover management’s responsibility to employees. Creating a healthy multi-generational culture requires consistent, transparent communications, clear expectations for managers, and creative programs to encourage learning and peaceful co-existence among employees of all ages. Valve gets a shout-out for its guide to company culture!
  1. Reward workplace flexibility. Leaders, don’t panic – I’m not saying have no rules – every community and group needs rules, but reward flexible thinking, which means being open to new ideas and ways of doing things. Flexible cultures provide lots of room for mentoring relationships to flourish and encourage a culture of learning that spans generations.
  1. Institute global mentoring programs that ignore age and rank. These can be based on skills, interests or, if you’re a really attentive manager and the organization is a still small, temperament or personality mesh with your colleagues. Assign mentoring teams to new employees so if personalities clash mentoring still continues. Make sure mentoring teams represent an age-and-skills cross section of the organization; you want to create an environment of cross-generational and skills trust and learning. And check in with employees on the effectiveness of the teams. Feedback is critical for your success. It’s almost worse to have unmonitored mentoring programs than no mentoring at all.
  1. Consider out-of-the-box job categories. There are many technology innovators and leaders that created a career path for those who opted out of management: members of technical staff tend to fit into this category. This is perfectly fine – not everyone is passionate about taking on a management role. As workers spend more time on the job their interests and focus will change; be prepared, not with a short-term plan and a not-so-gentle push, by creating job categories to keep experienced older workers engaged while allowing eager youngsters to rise through the ranks. These workers will be great mentors for the up-and-comers, by the way.
  1. Socialize mentoring, learning and workplace culture initiatives. You won’t be successful if you send an email simply telling people to be mentors, coaches or team-mates. Show you have a stake in the game: be part of a mentoring team. Be a coach. Live the role and others will see and feel this from your leadership.

Show you truly care about learning, informal, formal or social. Test these assumptions weekly and be ready to rewrite the playbook where it doesn’t hold up.

Leaders – Be The One. It Starts With You.

A version of this post was published on Forbes.com on 9/23/12

photo credit: Smell of fortune via photopin (license)

#WorkTrends Recap: Where Have All the Mentors Gone?

Today’s #WorkTrends show addressed the risks and rewards of mentoring, identified some of the reasons mentoring is disappearing, and explored how to reintroduce these important business relationships.

There are a myriad of benefits to well-designed and well-executed mentoring relationships in the workplace. However, it appears that the practice of mentoring is starting to taper off and, in some cases, disappear altogether.

Along with our knowledgeable guests Jonathan Segal, a partner in Duane Morris’ Employment Group, and Sue Meisinger, a consultant and speaker on HR leadership issues, we also discussed:

  1. What exactly mentoring is (as well as what it isn’t)
  2. The importance of mentoring to the business as a whole
  3. How to maximize the value of cross-gender mentoring and minimize the potential legal risks

It was a lively #WorkTrends podcast and Twitter conversation. Participants had a lot to share about their thoughts and personal experiences with formal and informal mentoring relationships.

Want to learn more? Listen to the recording and check out the highlights below:

The TalentCulture #WorkTrends Show is all new on Wednesday, March 30, 2016, from 1-2 pm ET (10-11 am PT). Join TalentCulture #WorkTrends Host Meghan M. Biro, as she talks with author and keynote speaker Ben Fanning about how to turn your current job into one you love.

Join our social communities and stay up-to-date! The TalentCulture conversation continues daily. See what’s happening right now on the #WorkTrends Twitter stream, in our LinkedIn group and on our Google+ community. Engage with us anytime on our social networks or stay current with trending World of Work topics on our website or through our weekly email newsletter.

Where Have All the Mentors Gone?

If each of us is honest, we know mentoring played a role for us in however we define success. Many of us think of our mentors as close friends or even family members. Many of us also think of our mentors as great teachers.

And, if we are lucky, we are able to serve as mentors, too. Lucky because we gain so much when we listen to actual and perceived obstacles to those who place their trust in us – and help them overcome these barriers.

But why do we see less formal and informal mentoring now than we did in the past? This is problematic because mentoring today is so important for developing tomorrow’s leaders.

So, why is there less mentoring? Four (4) reasons:

Formal mentoring programs cost money. Has any of you been given a blank check of recent?

Then, there is the time. We all are stretched out of our minds. Who has time to give more when you are just trying to survive?

Third, many people don’t believe they’re equipped to mentor another when they have deep knowledge, wisdom and experience to share.

Finally, there are fears of the legal risks. Can I keep a mentoring relationship strictly professional? And, if not, am I potentially walking into a discrimination claim if issues arise such as family planning?

We need to find ways to make sure mentoring happens even with these obstacles. The needs of business and its future leaders command it.

But first we need to discuss what mentoring is—and what it is not.   What words pop into your mind when you hear the word “mentor?”

It is coaching not just on skills but how to pivot in the organization.   Yes, that means helping to navigate the political realities

A mentor is not a cheerleader. But a good mentor does provide a safety net for prudent risk taking.

We need to think about the role of gender in mentoring programs. More specifically, some employers match based on gender. This is problematic for two reasons:

First, it stereotypes regarding who will connect with whom. Second, it disadvantages women where there are more men at the top.

Finally, since not every organization has a formal mentoring program, sometimes employees need to ask. Look inside and outside.

And, keep in mind mentoring is a two-way street. When asking, make clear to your potential mentor the benefits of mentoring.

Finally, if you are asked to be a mentor but don’t want to or don’t feel you can be effective, be direct. Do not say “yes” when you want to say “no.” That’s not fair to either of you!

Image credit : Gratisography

#WorkTrends Preview: Where Have All the Mentors Gone?

There are a myriad of benefits to well-designed and well-executed mentoring relationships in the workplace. However, it appears that the practice of mentoring is starting to taper off and, in some cases, disappear altogether. During this upcoming #WorkTrends conversation, we’ll discuss the risks and rewards of mentoring, identify some of the reasons mentoring is disappearing, and explore how to reintroduce these important business relationships.

Along with our knowledgeable guests Jonathan Segal, a partner in Duane Morris’ Employment Group, and Sue Meisinger, a consultant and speaker on HR leadership issues, some of the things we’ll discuss include:

  1. What exactly mentoring is (as well as what it isn’t)
  2. The importance of mentoring to the business as a whole
  3. How to maximize the value of cross-gender mentoring and minimize the potential legal risks

#WorkTrends Event: Where Have All the Mentors Gone?

#WorkTrends Logo Design

Tune in to our LIVE online podcast Wednesday, March 23 — 1 pm ET / 10 am PT

Join TalentCulture #WorkTrends Host Meghan M. Biro as she talks about where all the mentors have gone.

#WorkTrends on Twitter — Wednesday, March 23 — 1:30 pm ET / 10:30 am PT

Immediately following the radio show, the team will move to the #WorkTrends Twitter stream to continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. We invite everyone with a Twitter account to participate as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: What are the benefits of traditional workplace mentors? #WorkTrends  (Tweet the question)

Q2: What are the benefits of reverse mentoring?#WorkTrends (Tweet the question)

Q3: How can companies easily develop effective mentoring programs? #WorkTrends (Tweet the question)

Until then, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #WorkTrends Twitter feed, our TalentCulture World of Work Community LinkedIn group, and in our TalentCulture G+ community. Feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!

Subscribe to our podcast on BlogTalkRadio, Stitcher or iTunes:

BTR stitcher_logoItunes_podcast_icon

 

 

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Image credit : PicJumbo

The Foundation For Mentoring Success

Communication And ​Relationship Building Are Critical

Two key elements are required in order for a mentoring relationship to be successful. In reality, these very same elements are the key to successful relationships in our personal lives. The two key elements are trusted relationships and effective communication.

I have recently seen examples of where the breakdown in effectively communicating with someone can result in the short or long term deterioration of the relationship. If that happens to be in your personal life, imagine the impact that will have on those relationships.

We need to be tuned into their body language and their responses or lack thereof to ensure that the message we want delivered is actually being understood.

We sometimes assume that the person we are talking with understands what we are saying, or worse, apparently knows what we are thinking. That is not always the case.

Be Tuned In
We need to take that step back and ask ourselves before we send the message – how will this be received on the other end? Does it make sense?

We need to be tuned into their body language and their responses or lack thereof to ensure that the message we want delivered is actually being understood.

I have seen, in the professional environment, situations where not communicating effectively or not using active listening skills has contributed to performance deficiencies in an employee. Situations like this typically arise due to a manager or supervisor who does not communicate well and is not very good at building relationships with their employees.

Develop Those Relationships
As a manager or leader, you do need to develop relationships with those whom you work with. Failure to do so will have an impact on your ability to communicate in an effective manner.

As a manager or leader, you also need to consider whether your organisation has set itself up to be mentor ready, if a mentoring culture is what you are building on.

Effective communication is part of the effective mentoring process. Both participants in the relationship need to be able to send and receive information and to do so in an effective manner.

If you are the mentor, listening and hearing what is being said as well as focusing on the trigger words that are being delivered within the conversation will assist in guiding you to the next set of questions that you might ask. If you are unable to capture the trigger words, you will wander aimlessly in your conversation, without it having any meaning or substance.

Build Trust

Trust, no matter how we look at it, is important in our day to day lives. In fact, I would go so far as to say that without trust, you have nothing.

Without trust, we cannot develop meaningful relationships with others – whether they be part of our personal and/or professional lives. Building a trusted relationship is a key element of a successful effective mentoring relationship. Without trust, you really do not have a relationship at all.

Effective mentoring requires effective communication which includes the active listening component and the ability to build trusted relationships.

To build that trust requires work by both participants in the mentoring process. If trust is not established, you will not be successful. I have had a mentoring relationship where we could not connect, and consequently, we did not build the level of trust required to make our relationship work and to be successful.

Work On Your Communication Skills

Effective mentoring requires effective communication which includes the active listening component and the ability to build trusted relationships. Without either one of these elements, you will struggle in having a mentoring relationship with positive outcomes.

Take the time to work on your communication and relationship building skills. Take the time to get some form of training to assist you in this endeavour. Use the practice ground that you have in front of you today – both personal and professional as it will enhance your abilities in both of these areas.

After all, “can you afford not to?”

References

  1. http://www.joe.org/joe/2010december/tt8.php
  2. http://www.mentoring.org/downloads/mentoring_436.pdf

 

Image: bigstock

Don’t Just Assess Your Team’s Performance, Cultivate It!

It’s a good time to consider our roles as managers in helping people achieve their potential. In addition to assessing what they’ve done, take the time to consider what you’ve done — and can do — to help them achieve what they might.

Excellence requires opportunity, as does skill building; this is one of the greatest gifts you can give people. It also helps organizations retain employees and improve productivity.

Use These Three Tips To Cultivate High Team Performance And Create Opportunity:

1. Self assess your cultivation performance: Reflect on how much time and effort you invested in creating opportunities to excel and cultivate skill building opportunities for people on your team. How many opportunities did you provide — and did the person know it was an opportunity to excel or skill build? What impact did they have? Candidly compare this to your own experience and ideals.

2. Plan to cultivate talent and opportunities for 2015: Start with a map of skills individuals on the team already have and skills they should build over the year. Layer in excellence they’ve demonstrated and where there is potential to demonstrate excellence in new areas. With this information, develop your roadmap for what you’ll do to create these opportunities. Make it actionable with quarter by quarter actions you will take; hold yourself accountable for your plan.

3. Take pride in the effort and the outcome: Individuals on your team should succeed because of you, not in spite of you. More importantly, helping and watching other people thrive is one of the most gratifying things you can do. Take the effort personally; observe how you feel when your people stretch, grow, learn and excel. A happy professional consequence of your efforts: you’ll be developing your own skills as a leader. Talent development is the hallmark of great senior executives.

Lead by example and put the roadmap into practice in the new year to increase the competencies, capabilities and satisfaction of your team. Join the conversation on this and other topics to share what works best for you.

P.S. Workboard can help you be more efficient in distributing opportunities to excel, in building the fact base to support performance promotions, and quantifying and comparing the impact of people on your team — and your team’s impact on the company.

Make The Most Of Employee Mentoring

OK, so you’ve decided to invest in youth, you’ve decided to train people and build up a talent pipeline. You’ve made a long-term plan.

But that’s what most football clubs do, and they seem to fail all the time. Our record (in the UK) of bringing through young footballers is pretty awful — and a number of managers have pointed out that the mentoring system in Germany and Spain is more effective.

Are we guilty of the same thing in the workplace? Quite possibly … so if you’re going to get into mentoring, how can you make the most of it? How can you ensure that your talent gets what they need out of the system, and develops to the point you need?

1. Opposites Attract
Pairing up talent with mentor is not like a dating system. If your employee is shy, try to pair them up with someone who is outgoing. If your employee is detailed, try to hook them up with someone who is big picture.

Think about the gaps — the skills that they are lacking — and find someone who can help them plug those gaps and become a more rounded employee.

2. Save the Time
One of the reasons mentoring schemes tend to fail is that the mentor lacks the time, and often ends up cancelling meetings because of something more urgent.

That’s why it’s a good idea to schedule those one-to-one sessions for after 5 p.m. or before 9 a.m., so that there are fewer potential disruptions. But equally, it’s hugely important that your mentors buy into the ethos, and don’t see it as “one more thing to do.”

3. It’s All in the Preparation
…for the mentee, at least. Those within your scheme who have been appointed a mentor have to know how to get the most out of the relationship. This means planning the meeting — knowing what they’re going to ask, knowing what they want from the meeting. It won’t be up to the mentor to ask the probing questions — it’s up to the mentee.

4. It’s Not Teaching, it’s Learning
A mentor is not a teacher — as Ian Williams points out, a mentor is there to help the mentee learn. And that’s different … mentoring is about direction, and helping someone learn for himself or herself. It’s about giving your talent the mindset to become more effective.

Otherwise, you’d be sending them for training courses.

5. Make it Aspirational
Underpinning the whole scheme is how you promote it, and how you maintain it. Make it aspirational – give it a name, if you want – and make it interesting. Create events around it, let mentors meet up, let mentees meet up and share their experiences, and constantly seek to improve it.

And when someone does come through the system and is promoted, then it’s thanks to your mentoring scheme, and you have the living proof that it’s been worth it.

About the Author: Gareth Cartman is marketer with a background in HR who is fascinated by talent development & management.

photo credit: Second Beach via photopin (license)

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

What Do Job Seekers Want From Hiring Managers?

Written by Val Matta

Hiring managers — are you scaring off quality job seekers by failing to do your job effectively?

Although the life of a hiring manager is far from easy, you could be making some critical mistakes that not only dampen the results of your recruiting efforts, but also make your organization look bad.

Weak Links: Case In Point

According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 75% of job seekers never received any communication from prospective employers after applying for a position. How about you? Do you respond to all applicants? Even if a job posting attracts far more candidates than you can seriously consider, choosing not to acknowledge inquiries can hurt your company’s reputation.

In today’s social media environment, bad business practices are easily exposed and amplified. Therefore, it’s wise to handle applicants with more TLC. If you don’t, the best candidates may decide to look elsewhere, and publicly encourage others to do so. However, you can neutralize negativity by rethinking outdated hiring practices and making an extra effort. Even small changes can win over great talent, and build goodwill along the way.

So, with that in mind, what do today’s job seekers really want, and how can hiring managers help?

4 Ways To Improve The Hiring Process

1) Solid Job Descriptions

A poorly written job description runs the risk of attracting candidates who aren’t qualified for the position. Even worse, weak messaging may turn off the best and brightest talent. Still, less-than-stellar job descriptions are all too common: 43% of survey respondents say they found out during an interview that a job didn’t match what was promised in an ad. But who’s really responsible if a candidate advances to the interview stage before discovering that the job isn’t a fit?

Quick tip:  Feature as many details as possible in your job descriptions, including required duties, qualifications, and salary information. You may also want to link to your company website, which can house testimonials or videos that help tell your organization’s story and give potential candidates a feel for company culture.

2) Acknowledgement

Here’s food for thought: 82% of workers expect to hear back from a company when they apply for a job — regardless of whether the employer is interested. Yet, a very small proportion of applicants actually receive confirmation. Job seekers clearly consider acknowledgement a basic courtesy. It’s in your best interest to reach out and maintain goodwill with applicants — who may also be loyal customers.

Quick tip: If you don’t have time to connect directly with every job seeker, then automate the process. Email applications and applicant tracking systems offer personalized message capabilities. It may not be true 1-to-1 communication, but it certainly is better than keeping applicants in the dark, and it demonstrates your appreciation for their interest in the company.

3) Ongoing Feedback

The previous point speaks to the importance of acknowledging contact — letting applicant know you received and reviewed their resumes, or that they’ve been turned down. But it’s just as important to communicate with active candidates throughout the hiring process. Letting prospects know what they should expect, what they’re doing right, and how you’d like to move forward helps them stay connected and engaged. Don’t keep them guessing, or you may be lose some of your best options.

Quick tip: Keep your applicants posted through each step of the hiring process. For example, if step one requires a video interview, let them know how they should prepare. If step two is an in-person interview, provide some advance notice about the structure of the session, the people they’ll meet and the topics you expect to discuss. If you want to review portfolio pieces, indicate what types of work samples matter most to you. If they need to shadow someone in your organization as a test run, be sure you share logistical details. Communicating early and often keeps potential employees informed and engaged. It ensures an optimal impression — regardless of the hiring outcome.

4) Enthusiasm and Knowledge

Although it’s not your job to be a role model to job seekers, if you don’t seem enthused about the position, how can you possibly expect it from potential employees? Surprisingly, about 30% of workers who sought jobs last year found that company representatives weren’t knowledgeable about their own organizations. Another 34% say representatives didn’t present a positive work experience. You may be a candidate’s only impression of your company. Make sure it’s a good one.

Quick tip: Look at the job search process as a reverse interview. Make sure you’re enthusiastic about your organization and keep information about the company, the job and the hiring process at the ready. If you’re not sure of an answer, find someone who can help, and follow up. This reflects well on your employer brand, creates a great experience for the candidate, and streamlines the employment process for all.

The hiring process is about more than pinpointing great talent. It’s an opportunity to reinforce brand positioning with the community at-large, and foster stronger relationships with applicants who may be some of your strongest customer advocates. If you take time to create strong job descriptions, acknowledge applicants, provide ongoing feedback, and offer enthusiasm along the way, you’ll not only find great employees, but you’ll also win the hearts and minds of everyone who participates in the process.

What do you think? What else are job hunters seeking from hiring managers? How can employers respond? And why is this important? Share your ideas and opinions in the comments area below.

Val Matta(About The Author: Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for HR professionals and career seekers that gives job seekers complete control over their search. Val is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, and has had her writing featured at Recruiter.com, CareerBuilderMashable, USA Today College Series and in other outlets. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.)

(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. Or visit the #TChat stream on Twitter anytime. Everyone is welcome! Learn more...)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Generation X at Bat #TChat Recap

Do you ever wish you could instantly capture expert advice or opinions from across the World of Work?

Here’s an easy solution: Just ask a quick question on Twitter about generational differences in today’s workplace. Even better, ask that question during a #TChat event. I guarantee that, within moments, you’ll be drinking from a fire hose of thoughtful, passionate, articulate responses!

That’s exactly what we experienced on the #TChat stream last night with special guest, Mark Babbitt. As founder + CEO of YouTern, an organization that helps young professionals grow through high-impact information, mentorships and internships, Mark has developed strong opinions about the silent strength that Generation X brings to the workforce.

Do You Mind If I Talk About Your Age?

We were curious if the TalentCulture community agrees with Mark’s perspective. And we wondered how important generational similarities and differences are in shaping tomorrow’s organizations.

The conversation exposed what at first blush, might seem like opposing viewpoints. For example, on one hand, many participants emphasized the benefits of celebrating diversity:

“It’s not one-size-fits-all.” …and… “Let’s value the differences.” …and as Tom Bolt suggested…

Meanwhile, other participants emphasized the importance of focusing on similarities:

“Empower people; stop focusing on generations.” …and… “There are inspired, innovative, connected people in every generation.” …and as Kelly Blokdijk noted…

Of course, upon reflection, these perspectives are really two sides of the same coin. Both hold truths that can propel organizations forward.

But key questions remain — HOW BEST can we bring together both ends of this spectrum to create more effective organizational cultures? And how prepared is our next wave of leaders to accomplish that mission? Whenever human behavior is involved, there are many roads to the same destination. Some paths have many more detours and roadblocks. Organizations need smart navigators. Meanwhile, the business world continues to grow more complex and challenging. That’s why we’ll need extraordinary leaders in the future — regardless of their generation.

What’s Age Got To Do With It?

In the meantime, we look to one another for guidance. It’s actually phenomenal how much information has been created and shared about generations in the workplace. And yet organizations still struggle with how to “make it work.”

Just for fun, consider this quick, unscientific peek at the magnitude of commentary available online:

GOOGLE SEARCH RESULTS:
“Millennials” work = 39,000,000
“Boomers” work = 37,000,000
“Generation X” work = 3,260,000

You’d think there are enough nuggets of wisdom in there to help us understand and resolve these issues. But ideas, alone, aren’t the answer. Action is also required.

I wonder what “old-school” sage, the late Peter Drucker, would have said about this, if he had joined #TChat Twitter last night? Perhaps only this:

“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”

After all, no matter how old or young we are, that’s really the only path to progress.

So let’s keep the ideas flowing. Let’s keep the lines of communication open. Let’s share what works, and toss out what doesn’t. But most of all, let’s encourage one another to be bold and try “something new.” Let’s keep trying, and learning, and growing, and evolving. Let’s look forward to creating that “new” future together!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Gen X — Leading From The Middle

MarkB

Watch the Hangout now

SAT 10/12:

#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald framed this week’s topic in a post that featured a brief G+ Hangout video with guest Mark Babbitt. Read the Preview: “Gen X: Leading From The Middle.”

SUN 10/13:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro suggested how leaders can overcome generational differences. Read: “5 Ways Leaders Bridge the Generational Divide.”

TUE 10/15:

Related Post: Dan Newman, author of “The Millennial CEO,” examined the source of effective leadership. Read: “Anatomy of a Leader: Not Just Skin Deep.”

WED 10/16:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the radio show now

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with special guest, Mark Babbitt, about the unique challenges and opportunities that Generation X faces in today’s world of work. Listen to the radio recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Mark, Meghan and Kevin joined the entire community on the #TChat Twitter stream for an open conversation about 5 related questions. For highlights, check the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Highlights: Gen X: Leading From The Middle

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-gen-x-leading-from-the-middle.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Mark Babbitt for adding your voice to this week’s discussion. Your insights about Gen X have helped challenge our assumptions and expand our understanding.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about the multi-generational workforce? 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 tackle another important “world of work” topic. So save the date (October 23) for another rockin #TChat double header. And keep an eye out for details in the next few days.

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: Stock.xchng

Gen X: Leading From The Middle #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Are you looking for a complete overview of the week’s #TChat highlights and resource links? Read the #TChat Recap: “Generation X At Bat.”)

I just discovered that I’m exceptional! Or to be more accurate, I’m unconventional.

I’m a member of Gen X — and according to those who analyze age-related attributes, I should feel disadvantaged and overlooked in the workplace. Fortunately, I’ve had an interesting and rewarding career path, so perhaps I just got lucky. Or perhaps the assumptions aren’t as universal as we think.

But that raises some related questions — Just how “real” is the generational divide at work? And what do those differences mean, as Baby Boomers begin to retire, and a new wave of leaders steps up to drive the world of work?

Last week at #TChat Twitter, our community collectively agreed that the office is no place for age discrimination. However, for better or worse, each generation brings a unique set of shared experiences to the workplace. Are Baby Boomers and Millennials stealing attention from those of us who are “in the middle”? If so, what kind of impact will that have on the future of work?

This week, we’re addressing those questions head-on. We want to give Gen X the attention it deserves. And we’ve invited an ideal expert to lead the discussion:

Mark Babbitt, Founder + CEO of YouTern, an organization that helps young talent develop professionally through high-impact mentors, internships and information.

I spoke with Mark briefly in a joint G+ Hangout, where he set the stage for this week’s topic:

No matter what generation you represent, we want to hear your thoughts about how organizations can prepare tomorrow’s leaders for success. So please join us, and bring your ideas and opinions!

#TChat Events: Gen X — Leading From The Middle

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

#TChat Radio — Wed, Oct 16 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Mark Babbitt about the unique challenges and opportunities that Generation X faces in today’s world of work. Follow the action LIVE online, and dial-in with your feedback and questions!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Oct 16 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, we’ll move this 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: Gen X is “forgotten” in today’s workforce — myth or reality?
Q2: How can Gen Xers elevate their visibility and value at work?
Q3: Why is it smart for employers to empower all generations?
Q4: How can today’s leaders develop tomorrow’s decision makers?
Q5: What could technology do to remove generational barriers?

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!

Age Bias At Work: Bad Business #TChat Recap

“Discrimination due to age is one of the great tragedies of modern life. The desire to work and be useful is what makes life worth living, and to be told your efforts are not needed because you are the wrong age is a crime.” Johnny Ball

Who wouldn’t agree with that statement, in theory? But in fact, age discrimination persists. Why? And what should talent-minded professionals do about it? These were the core issues we tackled at this week’s #TChat Twitter forum.

To help us take a collective look at the impact of age discrimination on today’s workforce, two of the HR community’s sharpest thought leaders joined our moderator, Cyndy Trivella:

Steve Levy, a prominent workforce sourcing expert and popular recruiting blogger.

Heather Bussing, an employment law attorney who is also a founding editorial advisory board member and contributor at HR Examiner.

Here are some top takeaways, followed by resource links and the #TChat highlights slideshow:

Ageism “Sniff Test”

TChatTwitter_logo_020813Age discrimination is often not as overt as other forms of bias. When interviewing for a position, older candidates may be told that they’re not the right “fit” for an organization, or they’re “overqualified” for a job. Younger job seekers may be told to pursue unpaid internships to “gain more experience.” Either scenario may be appropriate — but when a pattern emerges, it’s most likely a systemic problem. Similarly, if employees “of a certain age” are consistently left out of communication loops, meetings and business decisions, discrimination is a likely culprit.

Ageism can be a factor at any stage in our lives — and tension seems to be mounting at both ends of today’s workforce, as the economic slowdown continues and more employees are retiring later in life.

What’s The Source?

Discrimination based on age (or other arbitrary criteria) stems from our need to categorize the abundance of information that surrounds us each day. Classifying information helps us process the world more efficiently — but not always effectively.

Fear seems to be a common factor in age discrimination. We tend to feel more comfortable with things that are familiar, and we fear things that we don’t know or understand. An older worker may fear that a younger counterpart is more energetic, or offers more creative ideas. While a younger worker may fear that an older employee contributes more depth of knowledge in a particular area, or resists fresh ideas. These feelings may not be rational, but the fear can be very real. Yet, ironically, no one likes to be stereotyped.

Keeping Age Discrimination Out Of The Office

To move past age discrimination, we need to embrace diversity, in all of its forms. A culture of  inclusion starts with leaders who leave age at the door. Smart leaders know that a diverse workforce contributes to innovation, and adds to a company’s value in the marketplace. It creates a “virtuous cycle” effect that encourages more collaboration among teams and employees. On the other hand, a one-dimensional workforce can breed “group think” that weakens a company’s competitive position.

How Can Leaders Foster Workplace Diversity?

Start with the hiring process. Hire the best candidate for the job. Use performance based hiring to avoid age discrimination. Consciously strive for a fair, inclusive, transparent recruitment process.

Create a cross-mentoring program. This makes sense for employers in the face of today’s talent shortage. It encourages knowledge sharing and helps support succession planning. It can also boost employee engagement.

What Can Each Of Us Do?

Consider listening and inquiry your personal weapons in the war against age discrimination. Never stop learning — no matter what your age. Embrace technology and use it as a tool to network with others and learn from them. Look for opportunities to grow personally and professionally, and share ideas with others at social forums, like #TChat Twitter — where diverse thinking is always welcome!

For more inspiration, see resource links and #TChat event highlights in the Storify slideshow below. If this post inspires you, be sure to add a comment below or jump into the #TChat stream any time. In our world of work, everyone is welcome, at any age!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Age Discrimination Perception + Reality

SUN 10/6:

SteveandTim

Watch the #TChat Preview video now

#TChat Preview: TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald set the stage for this week’s event in a preview post that featured a fun G+ hangout video with guest Steve Levy. Check it out: “Old Dogs + New Tricks: Will HR Learn?”

TUE 10/8:

Related Post: This week’s other special guest, Heather Bussing, offered a very human perspective on discrimination in a post at HR Examiner. Read: “Why Age Discrimination Should Matter to You.”

WED 10/9:

Related Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro outlined 5 steps that business leaders should take in overcoming workplace age stereotypes. Read: “How To Break The Age Bias Habit.”

#TChat Twitter: This week, we by-passed #TChat Radio. Instead the entire community set the #TChat Twitter hashtag on fire, as our guests joined moderator Cyndy Trivella in a lively discussion about 6 key age discrimination issues. The hour flew by, as thousands of ideas and opinions hit the stream. For highlights, see the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Highlights: Age Discrimination Perception + Reality

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-age-discrimination-in-the-workplac.js?template=slideshow”]

 

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Steve Levy and Heather Bussing for shining a light on workplace age discrimination. We welcome your enthusiasm and perspectives anytime!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about age in the workplace? 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 focus on next-generation workplace leadership with our special guest, YouTern CEO, Mark Babbitt! Watch for more details in the coming days.

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: Tim Tyrell-Smith at flickr

How To Break The Age Bias Habit

Want to know a deep, dark secret? OK then. Just between us — there’s some truth in all those stereotypes that swirl around about Baby Boomers, Millennials and other generations. That’s actually why they became stereotypes in the first place.

But wait. There’s another truth that no one in the workplace can afford to ignore. Discrimination is a career killer. Age bias may be as old as the hills, but that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable or even legal to let it poison your company culture. And in today’s transparent world of work, that kind of behavior is bound to be exposed, sooner or later. So let’s step back and re-frame this issue.

Smart Leaders Know Age Is Not A Factor

Today’s global economy is highly competitive. Successful organizations need all the creative, useful ideas they can get. It doesn’t matter if the source is old, young or in between. As French playwright Moliere said, “I take my good where I find it.”

Yet the labels persist. You’ve heard it before: Gen Yers are lazy, entitled, and preoccupied with digital connections. Gen Xers are cynical, alouf, and make lousy team players. Baby Boomers are stodgy, inflexible, and can’t relate to younger people. Can you find individuals who perfectly fit these descriptions? Sure you can. But can you find many other people who smash these cliches to pieces? I certainly hope so! I’m one of them.

Removing Age From The Workforce Equation

If you’re serious about your success — as well as your organization’s success — you’ll reach to the best and brightest no matter how old or young they are. But how can you avoid the trap of generational stereotypes? Here are 5 steps to consider:

1) Be aware and be vigilant. Take a quick personal inventory. Do you see some signals that shouldn’t be there? You’re not alone. All of us let age stereotypes creep into our thought patterns and behavior. It happens more than most of us want to admit. Come on. Own up. Face it by formalizing it. List the age-related assumptions you make about people. Become mindful. You can’t stop stereotyping until you’re willing to recognize how you do it.

2) Disprove the stereotype. Now that you have your list, find people who make a mockery of it. The Gen Xer who has worked 80 hours a week at the same company since college; the Gen Yer who created a cohesive, winning team; the Boomer who invented a wildly exciting new technology product.

3) Retrain your brain. Now that you know who and how you stereotype, and you know how false and limiting your “reality” is, train yourself to stop believing the lie. Be prepared to practice. Making snap judgments about people based on obvious attributes is deeply ingrained in us all. Unlearning this behavior takes time, but every step is a move in the right direction. When you meet someone, pay attention to your internal response — both intellectual and emotional. If you stereotype them, consciously tell yourself to look past it, and instead look at other characteristics that are more relevant.

4) Be open to “see” the person “in 3D.” There’s a word for someone who doesn’t measure individuals by their unique strengths and talents. That word is “fool.” You’re working to build a successful career, project, or enterprise. Why in the world would you limit yourself by refusing help from willing and able contributors? Embrace the talent that is available to you. Judge people by their past performance and potential to add value in the future. Age is irrelevant in that context. You need everyone to deliver their best effort. Stay open to possibilities and reach out.

5 ) Make it a habit. The goal is to build a network that transcends stereotyping. Make a conscious effort, at least once a week, to spend time with someone whom you would have stereotyped in the past. If you’re a Gen Yer, take a Boomer out to lunch. Listen to their story and soak up lessons from their experience. If you’re a Boomer, seek out a Gen Yer to mentor. Ask what’s on their mind and how you can help. Then listen closely to how they respond. No matter what age you are, be willing to discuss personal limitations and ask for input and feedback. Too often we assume it’s a sign of weakness if we admit our concerns and shortcomings. But actually it’s a strength. As Moliere suggested, take your good where you find it. I’m not sure how old he was when he penned that advice, but honestly, it doesn’t matter!

Bottom line: In the workplace and in every other aspect of life, stereotyping is self-destructive. It denies our basic humanity, and the ability we all have to transcend superficial categorization. Smash stereotypes, celebrate individuality, and you will learn, grow, and build stronger relationships. You’ll also be a business leader that others will want to follow.

(Editor’s Note: Join the TalentCulture community tonight, Oct 9 from 7-8pm ET, at #TChat Twitter,  where we’re discussing age-based discrimination in the workplace. Everyone is welcome! Learn more in the preview post…)

(Editor’s Note: Meghan M. Biro is an active contributor to Forbes.com. This article is adapted from her Forbes blog, with permission.)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Showing Workplace Competition Who's Boss

“How will I stand out in the crowd?”
“Do I really have what it takes to succeed?”

These classic workplace questions cross everyone’s mind from time to time. No matter where our profession leads us — sales, engineering, consulting, service — we must continually navigate through a sea of highly qualified talent. As our careers progress, so too, does the level of talent that we encounter. (We all experience secret moments of panic.)

Knowing this, I’d like to pause for a moment and pose a different question: “Is the way we traditionally view workplace competition getting in the way of our career progress?” For many individuals, this could be the case. So, let’s take a look at common barriers and consider how to deal with them.

Put Professional Competition In Its Place

Competition can be healthy. It does have the potential to drive us forward to excel. But if the very thought of competing derails us, we have a serious problem. Ultimately, we must face facts. We are likely to cross paths with individuals that seem more capable or successful than ourselves. (We may actually covet their role or career.) However, the very notion of competition doesn’t have to evoke debilitating stress and self-doubt. We need to remember that successful career journeys are built by capitalizing on our strengthswhile maximizing the opportunities that we encounter.

To master workplace competition, we ultimately must deal with our own feelings (and issues) with the concept of competition, itself. Here are some suggestions:

7 Ways To Deal With Workplace Competition

1) Accept its presence. Competition is ubiquitous. No matter where your career leads you, there will be ample competition to keep you on your toes — and it is ever present. Try to become comfortable and make peace with it.

2) Recognize it’s not a “zero sum” game. Opt for an “abundance mentality.” Don’t take the stance that if someone else succeeds, you are doomed to fail. Another individual’s promotion or good fortune doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be left out in the cold.

3) Identify your “comparison other.” How you gauge your career has much to do with those against whom you measure yourself. Who are your role models? Choose individuals that motivate you and possess skills that you wish to emulate. (This is one of my favorite techniques.) Learn from your competition. Ask yourself: What are they doing right?

4) Be the “best of you.” We’re not required to be all things to all people (and shouldn’t feel pressured to do so). Instead, find a way to acknowledge your strengths and create your own brand. Find a niche that makes you indispensable — create value and build on this strength. Take control of your own career and find paths to showcase your own talent. You’ll find that you focus less on the paths of others when your work aligns with the best of what you have to offer.

5) Build alliances and collaborate. Network without staying too close to the cuff (Use the 70-20-10 rule here.) Spread your wings to develop depth within your workplace relationships — be the “linking pin” between other departments or functions and solve problems.

6) Get a mentor or a sponsor. Many successful people speak of a mentor that has either inspired or guided them. However, you also need a sponsor. This is an individual that will help you gain exposure and facilitate “stretch assignments” that test your abilities.

7) Be aware. There is no greater confidence builder than becoming your own advocate. Of course, there is a dark side to workplace competition. Watch for individuals who “fight dirty” and have an unhealthy relationship with competition. (Remember, there is no shame in protecting your own interests.) Document your accomplishments, if you feel it is necessary — and take credit when it is owed to you. If an environment causes you troubling levels of stress, seek a change.

How do you handle the pressure of workplace competition? What has worked most effectively for you and why? Share your thoughts in the comments area 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…)

(Also Note: This article originally appeared as a LinkedIn Influencer post. It is republished with permission.)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Showing Workplace Competition Who’s Boss

“How will I stand out in the crowd?”
“Do I really have what it takes to succeed?”

These classic workplace questions cross everyone’s mind from time to time. No matter where our profession leads us — sales, engineering, consulting, service — we must continually navigate through a sea of highly qualified talent. As our careers progress, so too, does the level of talent that we encounter. (We all experience secret moments of panic.)

Knowing this, I’d like to pause for a moment and pose a different question: “Is the way we traditionally view workplace competition getting in the way of our career progress?” For many individuals, this could be the case. So, let’s take a look at common barriers and consider how to deal with them.

Put Professional Competition In Its Place

Competition can be healthy. It does have the potential to drive us forward to excel. But if the very thought of competing derails us, we have a serious problem. Ultimately, we must face facts. We are likely to cross paths with individuals that seem more capable or successful than ourselves. (We may actually covet their role or career.) However, the very notion of competition doesn’t have to evoke debilitating stress and self-doubt. We need to remember that successful career journeys are built by capitalizing on our strengthswhile maximizing the opportunities that we encounter.

To master workplace competition, we ultimately must deal with our own feelings (and issues) with the concept of competition, itself. Here are some suggestions:

7 Ways To Deal With Workplace Competition

1) Accept its presence. Competition is ubiquitous. No matter where your career leads you, there will be ample competition to keep you on your toes — and it is ever present. Try to become comfortable and make peace with it.

2) Recognize it’s not a “zero sum” game. Opt for an “abundance mentality.” Don’t take the stance that if someone else succeeds, you are doomed to fail. Another individual’s promotion or good fortune doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be left out in the cold.

3) Identify your “comparison other.” How you gauge your career has much to do with those against whom you measure yourself. Who are your role models? Choose individuals that motivate you and possess skills that you wish to emulate. (This is one of my favorite techniques.) Learn from your competition. Ask yourself: What are they doing right?

4) Be the “best of you.” We’re not required to be all things to all people (and shouldn’t feel pressured to do so). Instead, find a way to acknowledge your strengths and create your own brand. Find a niche that makes you indispensable — create value and build on this strength. Take control of your own career and find paths to showcase your own talent. You’ll find that you focus less on the paths of others when your work aligns with the best of what you have to offer.

5) Build alliances and collaborate. Network without staying too close to the cuff (Use the 70-20-10 rule here.) Spread your wings to develop depth within your workplace relationships — be the “linking pin” between other departments or functions and solve problems.

6) Get a mentor or a sponsor. Many successful people speak of a mentor that has either inspired or guided them. However, you also need a sponsor. This is an individual that will help you gain exposure and facilitate “stretch assignments” that test your abilities.

7) Be aware. There is no greater confidence builder than becoming your own advocate. Of course, there is a dark side to workplace competition. Watch for individuals who “fight dirty” and have an unhealthy relationship with competition. (Remember, there is no shame in protecting your own interests.) Document your accomplishments, if you feel it is necessary — and take credit when it is owed to you. If an environment causes you troubling levels of stress, seek a change.

How do you handle the pressure of workplace competition? What has worked most effectively for you and why? Share your thoughts in the comments area 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…)

(Also Note: This article originally appeared as a LinkedIn Influencer post. It is republished with permission.)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Internship Compensation: Does It Pay?

In light of the recent slew of compensation-based class action lawsuits, unpaid internships are a hot topic. And with only 36.9% of companies still offering interns less that minimum wage or no compensation at all, it’s clear that relying upon unpaid interns is more damaging than many employers assume.

How might that “free” extra set of hands leave you paying a price? Take a look at the following infographic, compiled by InternMatch, an online platform connecting the best intern candidates and employers. It showcases several key intern compensation facts, as well as implications for employers. For example:

• 48% of internships accepted by the Class of 2013 were unpaid
• 41% of paid interns weren’t paid enough to cover basic daily expenses
• 65% of students relied on financial assistance from parents during their internships
• 63% of paid interns subsequently received at least one job offer

Whether you’re an intern or an employer, there’s a message here for you. Check out the full infographic, and share your thoughts in the comments area below!

What do you think? Should unpaid interns fight back against employers to recover unpaid wages and overtime?

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

How To Skip The Negative Feedback "Sandwich"

I’ve never fully understood the logic behind the “sandwich” method of delivering performance feedback. (I’m sure you’re familiar with this concept: Open a discussion on a positive note, then insert a negative piece of news, followed by another positive.) We like to think that we’re softening the blow by offering several of bits of positive feedback around a central negative message. However, we’re doing no such thing.

Actually, this approach may be a disservice to both categories of information — each of which plays a unique and highly valuable role in shaping performance. Overall, we need to pay close attention to the “cascade” of emotions and behavior that we initiate when delivering feedback, but also be careful to retain the value of the message.

Performance Feedback: Open Dialogue

Processing negative performance feedback is quite challenging for most of us — even though on a very basic level, we realize that accepting “where to improve” is critical to our careers. While positive feedback serves to motivate and energize our work lives (we all need this on a regular basis), the “negatives” can also provide useful information about where we should direct our attention. To remain competitive, we certainly require both categories of information — and I am not debating the value of either. Rather, I’d like to open a discussion about how negative information can be presented and approached, to afford the most progress possible.

When considering negative feedback, we must acknowledge core human characteristics; including self-efficacy (the belief that individuals can actually impact their situation) and goal orientation (some individuals focus on learning, others focus on demonstrating competence, and others focus upon avoiding negative judgement). To properly deliver negative feedback, we should carefully consider and frame the delivery, so potential damage to an individual’s psyche is minimized and progress is emphasized.

Developing A Constructive Approach

There’s truly an art to presenting information about performance deficits of any kind. When managers practice the sandwich method, I fear that once the “meat” of the sandwich is delivered — the “downside” of performance — we really don’t remember much of anything that follows. (Attempting to “hide” the information doesn’t address the issues.) We can certainly do a better job of moving the conversation to more neutral ground, where performance improvement can follow. But how? Here are some ideas:

3 Behavioral Considerations

1) How humans are “wired” to perceive bad news. We are likely predisposed to pay more attention to negative information, possibly a leftover evolutionary survival mechanism. As a result, we’re likely to become hyper-focused on the negatives. This clouds our “lens.”
2) We sorely need the positives. We should all be allowed to absorb what we are doing well at work. That’s not possible when information about our successes is delivered in conjunction with information about shortcomings.
3) We “digest” slowly. It takes time to process negative information properly. Initially, when you hear information you might not not want to hear, negative thoughts can spiral, leading to responses such as panic and denial. There are stages in this process that cannot be skipped.

5 Ways To Avoid “The Sandwich”

1) Build resiliency. Performance management should never be a once a year, “live or die” event. Ultimately, it’s a continuous process. Provide positive feedback concerning small successes along the way to provide balance. This helps difficult information become easier to absorb.
2) Address self-efficacy. Some individuals have the tendency to believe they cannot impact their performance or build a needed skill set. Explore this predisposition, to encourage a more hopeful perspective.
3) Focus on learning. Research has shown that in contrast to performance goals, learning goals can increase problem solving in relation to performance problems, possibly limiting the “sting” of negative feedback. Setting the tone to “learn from failure” can prove more effective in motivating and directing behavior.
4) Never “drop a bomb.” It’s wise to address negative feedback when it is delivered. Allow enough time to help control anxiety, and at least begin to discuss a plan for improvement.
5) Support the digestion process. After sharing negative feedback, be sure to provide plenty of support. Be highly accessible as an employee works through the information and begins to take logical steps forward.

How do you present negative performance feedback? What are your “best practice” strategies? How have these strategies helped you develop others in the workplace? Share your thoughts in the comments area below.

(Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared as a LinkedIn Influencer post. It is republished with permission.)

Image Credit: Kitsa Sakurako/Flickr

How To Skip The Negative Feedback “Sandwich”

I’ve never fully understood the logic behind the “sandwich” method of delivering performance feedback. (I’m sure you’re familiar with this concept: Open a discussion on a positive note, then insert a negative piece of news, followed by another positive.) We like to think that we’re softening the blow by offering several of bits of positive feedback around a central negative message. However, we’re doing no such thing.

Actually, this approach may be a disservice to both categories of information — each of which plays a unique and highly valuable role in shaping performance. Overall, we need to pay close attention to the “cascade” of emotions and behavior that we initiate when delivering feedback, but also be careful to retain the value of the message.

Performance Feedback: Open Dialogue

Processing negative performance feedback is quite challenging for most of us — even though on a very basic level, we realize that accepting “where to improve” is critical to our careers. While positive feedback serves to motivate and energize our work lives (we all need this on a regular basis), the “negatives” can also provide useful information about where we should direct our attention. To remain competitive, we certainly require both categories of information — and I am not debating the value of either. Rather, I’d like to open a discussion about how negative information can be presented and approached, to afford the most progress possible.

When considering negative feedback, we must acknowledge core human characteristics; including self-efficacy (the belief that individuals can actually impact their situation) and goal orientation (some individuals focus on learning, others focus on demonstrating competence, and others focus upon avoiding negative judgement). To properly deliver negative feedback, we should carefully consider and frame the delivery, so potential damage to an individual’s psyche is minimized and progress is emphasized.

Developing A Constructive Approach

There’s truly an art to presenting information about performance deficits of any kind. When managers practice the sandwich method, I fear that once the “meat” of the sandwich is delivered — the “downside” of performance — we really don’t remember much of anything that follows. (Attempting to “hide” the information doesn’t address the issues.) We can certainly do a better job of moving the conversation to more neutral ground, where performance improvement can follow. But how? Here are some ideas:

3 Behavioral Considerations

1) How humans are “wired” to perceive bad news. We are likely predisposed to pay more attention to negative information, possibly a leftover evolutionary survival mechanism. As a result, we’re likely to become hyper-focused on the negatives. This clouds our “lens.”
2) We sorely need the positives. We should all be allowed to absorb what we are doing well at work. That’s not possible when information about our successes is delivered in conjunction with information about shortcomings.
3) We “digest” slowly. It takes time to process negative information properly. Initially, when you hear information you might not not want to hear, negative thoughts can spiral, leading to responses such as panic and denial. There are stages in this process that cannot be skipped.

5 Ways To Avoid “The Sandwich”

1) Build resiliency. Performance management should never be a once a year, “live or die” event. Ultimately, it’s a continuous process. Provide positive feedback concerning small successes along the way to provide balance. This helps difficult information become easier to absorb.
2) Address self-efficacy. Some individuals have the tendency to believe they cannot impact their performance or build a needed skill set. Explore this predisposition, to encourage a more hopeful perspective.
3) Focus on learning. Research has shown that in contrast to performance goals, learning goals can increase problem solving in relation to performance problems, possibly limiting the “sting” of negative feedback. Setting the tone to “learn from failure” can prove more effective in motivating and directing behavior.
4) Never “drop a bomb.” It’s wise to address negative feedback when it is delivered. Allow enough time to help control anxiety, and at least begin to discuss a plan for improvement.
5) Support the digestion process. After sharing negative feedback, be sure to provide plenty of support. Be highly accessible as an employee works through the information and begins to take logical steps forward.

How do you present negative performance feedback? What are your “best practice” strategies? How have these strategies helped you develop others in the workplace? Share your thoughts in the comments area below.

(Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared as a LinkedIn Influencer post. It is republished with permission.)

Image Credit: Kitsa Sakurako/Flickr

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

1+ Million Ways to Bridge the Skills Gap #TChat Recap

Many Paths Can Lead to Change

Wow, where to begin?  The #TChat Twitter stream blazed last night as the TalentCulture community brainstormed about how business organizations can help create future leaders. Paging all professionals — our students need your help!

Learning advocate and writer, Angela Maiers, moderated a passionate conversation focused on students’ need for opportunities to solve real-world problems, and mentors to guide them. She introduced us to the Quest2Matter, which challenges every student in three essential ways:

  • To accept that they matter
  • To accelerate the message that everyone matters, and
  • To act on a problem that breaks their heart.

As Angela explained in a recent Huffington Post column:

“Students are willing to not only be the change we need; they are willing to lead the change. They are not asking for permission. They are asking for respect. They want to express their passions in meaningful ways. They want to show the world that in spite of their years, they are a force to reckon with.”

Choose2MatterOur community is partnering with Angela’s organization, Choose2Matter in this important venture. By offering encouragement and expertise, business professionals can support students who are ready to solve problems that they define and “own.” Investing in our young people is an easy win for business organizations, because it develops skills that lead to a more employable work force.

There are many ways to make a difference in the future of enthusiastic students. Mentoring through Choose2Matter gives us an opportunity to do more than talk about the potential pathways. It gives us an opportunity to put our community’s innovative ideas into practice — with real-world impact.

Stay tuned for more information from Angela, as the initiative moves forward. But why wait? Reach out to Choose2Matter today, and let us know where your life as a mentor leads you!

#TChat Week-in-Review

SAT 5/4

AngelaLg

Watch our sneak peek interview with Angela Maiers

This week’s guest, Angela Maiers, framed the week’s events in a special blog post, “Creating Future Leaders: A Mission That Matters.”

SUN 5/5

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro, suggested “5 Ways to Build a Future Leader” in her weekly Forbes column.

MON 5/6

#TChat Preview: Our community manager, Tim McDonald, posted a special “sneak peek” video interview with Angela, and outlined the week’s theme and key questions in a preview post: “Business Case for Mentoring.”

TUE 5/7

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio recording

#TChat Radio: Our hosts spoke live with Angela and her Choose2Matter partner, Mark Moran about workforce readiness issues, and the potential for mentoring to make a positive impact.

WED 5/8

Partnership Post: Meghan explained why partnering with Choose2Matter makes sense for TalentCulture, and invited community members to join this mentoring movement. Read “Did You Learn Today? Pass It On.”

#TChat Twitter: Angela and Mark returned to lead the community in a real-time discussion of skills gap issues, and suggested solutions. The feed lit-up with great ideas throughout the hour. But perhaps the most important takeaway was this:

Exactly! Are you inspired? See more highlights in the slideshow and call-outs below:

#TChat Twitter Highlights Slideshow: “The Business Case for Mentoring”

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-business-case-for-mentoring.js?template=slideshow”]

 

Looking for a quick peek at Qs & As? Here’s a snapshot:

Why do you think education is falling short in the US? Or do you?

“Strong focus on standardization & grades. Not a lot of focus on learning in several ways.” @VizwerxGroup

“We need to teach kids how to think, not what to remember.” @heatherbussing

What can employers do to improve the readiness disparity (expectation vs reality)?

“Hire for culture, train & then trust.” @zacharyjeans

School-Business Partnerships Resources (shared by Jerry Blumengarten ‏@cybraryman1)

How can mentoring help make the unemployable employable again?

‏”Mentoring someone shows that you care + respect that person. That respect alone can change people” @PhilKomarny

“Skill building. Every day youre unemployed, your skills depreciate. Its important to keep them fresh.” @AshLaurenPerez

How can business leaders help bridge the skills gap and create jobs?

‏”Business leaders can share their stories w/o telling others the solutions. It’s reciprocal > Listen & learn” @AlliPolin

“Internships a must at university level & start earlier than that. Teaching at all levels can include more biz concepts.” @wmchamberlain

What technologies will help enable education-rich organizations?

“Use technology to innovate, creat,collaborate, share and engage to make a difference in bridging the skill gaps” @sonaleearvind

“Tech gives even the quietest person a voice to be heard globally.” @cybraryman1

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

SPECIAL THANKS: Again, thanks to Angela Maiers and Mark Moran for sharing perspectives on why and how mentoring can bridge the skills gap. Your enthusiasm is infectious!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about mentoring 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 have a very special topic in the works! Look for a preview post this weekend.

Until then, as always, 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 lights are always on at TalentCulture, and your ideas and opinions are always welcome.

We’ll see you on the stream!

(Editor’s Note: To learn more about Angela’s point of view, read her TalentCulture blog post, “Creating Future Leaders: A Mission That Matters. Or listen to her December 2012 appearance on #TChat Radio “Back to the Future” Edition — when she discussed key trends in talent acquisition and development.)

 

Did You Learn Today? Pass It On

“To teach is to learn twice.”  –J. Joubert

I love my work. But there are challenges (understatement). Keeping pace with 21st-century talent and technology trends means commitment to a perpetual learning curve.

The “human side” of business is now a vast and fluid domain. It’s a melting pot, churning in overdrive, with talent-recruitment-engagement-performance-management-HR-bigdata-leadership-development-socialmedia-and-career-skills all colliding and transforming at every turn. Each day brings more than anyone can absorb. We all feel it. This sensory overload is the new norm.

Learning as a Way of Life

I can’t stop learning (and couldn’t if I wanted to). My career demands nothing less. I just got back from an exciting HR conference in Philly where I met fascinating, bright, dedicated people, and discovered jaw-dropping, radically innovative tools. In a word, I learned.

To be honest, there is nothing in the world I love more than learning — anywhere, anytime. Exchanging ideas in any social environment is an experience that makes my pulse race. And these days, I often feel like I’m experiencing a non-stop adrenaline rush!

It’s exhilarating to see smart people rewriting rules (even at this moment). And although it’s often exhausting to be at the heart of a global learning community like TalentCulture, I also feel alive and engaged every day. I hope you feel that way, too — and that’s why you participate.

Learning as Leverage for Others

Along with the adrenaline highs, sometimes on this “world of work” odyssey, I’m exposed to alarming challenges. And as my friend Angela Maiers explains, one of the most alarming issues today is the increasing shortage of skilled talent. It’s a reality that the business world can no longer afford to ignore.

Simply put — we are not preparing students sufficiently for today’s economy — let alone for the future of work.

On one hand, this leaves behind millions of potential workforce contributors who are considered unemployable by most standards. On the other hand, companies are struggling to find qualified talent for unfilled positions. Adding insult to injury, companies have slashed recruiting and development budgets to the bone in recent years, while simultaneously increasing their expectations for finding capable talent. This is not a recipe for success.

We Can Matter — As Mentors

AngelaLg

See the #TChat Preview & sneak-peek video

Something must change. I know that TalentCulture community understands this.

The good news is that each of us is equipped to lead the way — with whatever time, knowledge and skills we have available. Even more good news — there are ready-made ways to “pay-it-forward” as mentors. And one of those ways is through Angela Maiers’ bold educational initiative, Choose2Matter.

Angela isn’t waiting for government or big business or educational institutions to fix the problem. Instead, she’s using her brains, her passion and her professional network to unleash a tiny movement that can make a lasting difference in the future of every student that Choose2Matter touches.

This fearless approach to “future-proofing” our nation is why Choose2Matter’s leaders are joining us this week on #TChat Radio, and on our #TChat Twitter Chat (see the preview: “Business Case for Mentoring”). And it’s why TalentCulture is committed to support Choose2Matter, going forward.

Together we can bridge the skills gap, one student at a time. All it takes is enthusiasm, business experience, and a commitment of your time to help students work productively toward their dreams.

The goal is to encourage the genius in every child. The kids are ready. So let’s give these amazing dreamers the support they need to achieve to their fullest potential. As a talent development champion, I’m in. Why not join me?

(Editor’s Note: To learn more about Angela’s point of view, read her TalentCulture blog post, “Creating Future Leaders: A Mission That Matters. Or listen to her appearance on the #TChat Radio Show: “Choose to Bridge the Skills Gap.”)

Image Credit: Pixabay