The Career-Growth Gender Gap: It’s still here but we’ve got plans

women can take action to change the career-growth gender gap

The Career-Growth Gender Gap: It’s still here but we’ve got plans

November 22, 2021

women can take action to change the career-growth gender gapIf you are a woman and early in your career path, there’s something you need to know:

Women face challenges in their career growth that men do not.

If you think that we’re beyond the gender problem, I invite you to think again… because we are not!

In fact, women face TWO specific challenges:

First - Women don’t move up to the next level within their first five years at the same pace as men

Second - Because they don’t get promoted, women do not develop the same leadership skills as men within this same time frame.

These two steps are essential for career growth!

Researchers call this the “broken rung.” According to a 2019 study by McKinsey and LeanIn.org, these obstacles that prevent women from progressing in their careers.

Here’s the thing:

If you don’t get promoted, you don’t get into the pipeline for further promotions. Instead, you play a game of catch-up and it’s easy to continue to fall behind.

So… what can you do about this?

As an answer to that question, I’d like to tell you about a wonderful group of early-career professional women that I recently had the wonderful opportunity to speak with.

They were enrolled in a year-long program designed to address these common career-growth challenges that women face in the workplace. These women knew that they had to take control over what they needed and wanted in their careers. They were aware that if they were going to remove the obstacles they faced, they needed to understand the challenges that created them.

As part of their program, these women identified their values around what is important to them in the workplace. With that in mind, I spoke with them about three key areas that build upon what they value in the workplace.

  1. Work boundaries
  2. Confidence
  3. Assertiveness

These are foundational factors that support their values. (If you want to identify your own values with regards to the workplace, download the Corporate Culture worksheet.)

Here’s a quick summary of these key areas and how they support and align with your values:

Work Boundaries reflect how you want to be treated in the workplace. Keep in mind: You should treat others the same way you hope to be treated. Following the Golden Rule can serve a guiding light.

Confidence helps you define and establish your boundaries.

Assertiveness guides you towards using the right language to get your point across clearly and tactfully when your boundaries are threatened or compromised.

What I find most exciting about these key areas is that they are skills. That means you can learn them and practice them so that when you need them, you’ll be ready.

Here is what I’m hoping you’ll take away from this:

  • You have to choose to take control over what you want and need in your career
  • You can take action to combat the challenges you face
  • Finding support through communities and a career coach can help you make these things happen for yourself.

We are still facing gender challenges in the workplace, but we are not victims to them. You can take specific, focused action to support your own career growth. When you do the work, success will follow.

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Solve the Hidden Talent Shortage with a New Approach

Solving the Hidden Talent Shortage with a New Approach

Solve the Hidden Talent Shortage with a New Approach

October 4, 2021

Solving the Hidden Talent Shortage with a New ApproachAccording to the Manpower Group, almost 70% of employers report that they cannot find the people with skills they need. (Manpower Group, 2020, The Talent Shortage.) In the U.S., employer intentions to bring on workers is at a ten-year high. (Manpower Group report, Q4 2021)

At the same time, the U.S. unemployment rate was at 5.2 in August 2021.(Bureau of Labor Statistics, September 3, 2021, The Employment Situation – August 2021)

In short: There are jobs available, and there are plenty of people looking for those jobs.

So, what’s the problem? The operative word is “talent.” There are plenty of people who are looking for jobs. But companies struggle to connect with the job seekers who have the right skills and experience to fill the open roles.

I believe this challenge exists because companies are using old ways to find new talent.

Thanks to improved technology and changes that we’ve need to make around the globe to adjust for a global pandemic, the use of video interviews and social media outlets to drive recruiting strategies has increased. But where companies find the talent to interview has not changed.

Until companies start approaching the talent pool from a different direction, finding the right talent to fill open roles will continue to be a challenge.

The strategies for finding talent that companies typically use are no longer working. To get ahead of the trend, companies need to become proactive not reactive in finding talent, and they need to bring in more of a human touch to the process.

There are some nuances to this problem that I want to address: It starts with where companies are looking for talent, but also includes what they are looking for from within the talent pool.

First, companies habitually look for talent when the position is ready to be filled. They open the position and only then do they hit up LinkedIn and other online platforms. They work their way through the pile of unknown talent via resumes from people they’ve not yet met. Bigger companies may even filter those resumes with technology using an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), which removes any sense of the human behind the words.

But what if companies reversed this process?

What if they started with the pool of talent and got to know the people interested in working with them… and at the same time, gave those people an opportunity to get to know the company and its culture better?

What I’m suggesting here is that companies could build their own Hidden Talent Network where they can gather the pool of interested job seekers before the job is open.

This would allow the companies to address the second nuance that I mentioned above: Changing what they are looking for from that talent.

Typically, companies look for ideal candidates who already have everything that is listed on the job description. That means they miss one key factor: the candidate’s potential.

Finding the right person for a job isn’t just about whether they’ve got all the boxes checked. It’s also about their potential to check more boxes as they grow with the company.

Why does this matter? Turnover is expensive!

It can cost a U.S. company $4000 or more to hire one employee, and it can take up to 52 days to fill a position. (Toggl.com) If you hire someone who doesn’t stay, the company starts the process again, losing more money and time in the process.

Therefore, the goal should not be to hire someone who checks all the boxes in the job description; rather, hire someone who has the potential to check those boxes and much more. Hire someone who envisions themselves staying with your company for the long term, and who you already know fits the culture.

Building your own Hidden Talent Network would help you do this. It provides you with a pool of people that you already know, and who have gotten to know your company as well. Before the job is even open, you can identify the people who tick most of the boxes and show potential to grow with your company. You’ll shorten the time to hire and potentially reduce how much money it costs to find them.

So how do you build a Hidden Talent Network? Slowly, over time, by scouting talent and giving the talent the opportunity to scout you.

For example, you could host talent events where you can speak to them in groups about where your company is going. In what ways is it growing and what types of talent do you hope to be looking for in the future? Talk about your organizational culture and what you value. This would also be a great time to set expectations: What can job seekers expect during your hiring process? Which skills and qualifications are mandatory? What can they do to be an even better fit as the anticipated jobs come open?

Transparency on your part will help you find the right people and get the conversations started early.

From all the years that I’ve spent working with job seekers to help them find the right positions that will help them build a career for themselves, the one thing that I’ve consistently seen is that the best jobs are found through the hidden job market.

That “hidden job market” is something that a job seeker builds for themselves by making connections with the companies that they are interested in working with.

Companies could do this as well by making it easier for individuals to connect with them and speeding up the whole job placement experience for everyone involved. It could also provide them with an untapped market of talent that they could onboard quickly.

The world has changed and continues to do so. If companies want to get the best talent, they’ll need to change with it. The global pandemic has made us all more human. Connection matters more to us. The companies that are embracing this humanness are the ones that will find the best people.

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The Best Questions to Ask a Hiring Manager

The Best Questions to Ask Your Hiring Manager

The Best Questions to Ask a Hiring Manager

July 12, 2021

The Best Questions to Ask Your Hiring ManagerIf you are truly focused on finding a job with a company that has right culture for you, the questions you ask the hiring manager will be key.

The hiring manager is the person who would be your boss. And as I mentioned in a recent article, the best time to ask questions about culture is during the interview.

What you ask matters. Those answers will give you your best insight because they are being provided by someone with whom you’ve had time to build up a rapport.

The questions you ask your hiring manager are key because you need to know not only whether you’d be happy at this company, but also: Would you be happy working for this person at this company?

The thing is, the company might be the right fit… but if you get stuck with the wrong manager, you could still not do well.

Before we identify exactly which questions to ask, we need to go back to the definition of company culture, which refers to beliefs and demonstrated behaviors. The values of the organization need to permeate throughout and align with what it is and how it is demonstrated.

The key words in the definition above are demonstrated behaviors.

In other words, your questions need to be focused on how the hiring manager behaves, not just what they believe or say about themself.

What does a behavior-focused question sound like? Here are some examples of questions you can ask the hiring manager:

What you want to know: How does the manager recognize and reward their staff members?
Ask: Can you provide me with a recent example of how you recognized one of your employees for a job well done?

What you want to know: How does the manager deal with mistakes?
Ask: Can you give me an example of when one of your employees made a mistake and how you handled the situation?

What you want to know: How do they respond to feedback?
Ask: Can you tell me about a time when one of your employees gave you feedback? How did you react to it?

I hope this gives you a sense of what questions you might ask, and how to ask them in a way that gives you specific examples. After all, you want to work for the right company! By asking these types of questions, they will help you make a better career decision.

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How to Tell if This is the Right Company for You

how to tell if this is the company for you

How to Tell if This is the Right Company for You

June 28, 2021

how to tell if this is the company for you

How can you identify whether the company you are interviewing with has the right culture for you?

This is the question that most of my coaching clients come to me for help with.

They are tired of working for companies whose cultures don’t support them doing their best work.

Ok – wait. Let’s be clear about what they (and maybe you) actually want.

My coaching clients WANT to work for a company where they will:

  • Be able to do their best work
  • Feel proud because they work there
  • Enjoy the work they do
  • Feel like they fit in with the people
  • Anticipate staying for a long time

They want to work for a company where they can be their authentic selves, their best selves, do work that they enjoy, and can see themselves staying at for the long term.

In short: They want to be happy.

The question then becomes: During the interview process, how can I tell whether or not this is a company where I’ll be happy?

This is a two-part answer.

Part 1: Go into the interview with a clear sense of what you’re looking for.

If you aren’t sure, download my free guide, What is the Right Corporate Culture for you? It walks you through a series of key questions to help you identify what is important to you that needs to be matched by the company you work for.

Part 2: Ask specific questions about the culture at the company you are interviewing for.

You benefit in asking these questions because:

  • They will help you stand out because they aren’t the usual questions that others ask.
  • It will be clear through the questions that you ask that where you work matters to you.
  • The answers will help you gain a clearer understanding of the organizational culture.

So… what are some good questions to ask?

That will depend largely on what you are looking for, so here are some great questions to get you started:

  • How would you describe the culture of this company?
  • What do you value most in your employees?
  • What is the predominant leadership style in your company?
  • How do you reward people for exemplary work?
  • What type of people thrive in your company culture?

These are great opening questions specifically because they are open-ended. They enable the respondent to answer freely. Answers to these questions and others like them will give you some nice insights into the company and the perspective that your interviewer holds about that company.

If you hesitate to ask questions like this, I encourage you to dare to ask them anyways.

Remember: you aren’t the only one being interviewed. What you think of the company matters just as much as what the company thinks of you.

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How to Get Clear on What You Want in Your Next Job

How do you figure out what you want in your next job?

How to Get Clear on What You Want in Your Next Job

June 14, 2021

How do you figure out what you want in your next job?Almost everyone I have coached through a job transition wants to find a job with a company whose culture enables them to do their best work.

The big question here is: How do you figure that out?

How can you tell whether the culture of any given company will support you in the way that you need it to so that you can show up as your best self and deliver your best work?

To help my coaching clients work this out, I always start with this question: “What did you not experience in your last role that you are looking for in your next company?”

I love this as a starter question because it tunes us in to the one thing that they know for sure: What didn’t work for them last time and why. For my clients, it’s one of the most powerful pieces of knowledge they own because, if nothing else, they know what they don’t want!

But that is just the beginning.

We then take a deeper dive, reflecting back on their previous two or three roles to give them a broader perspective of their whole career so far, rather than just their last job.

The thing that I think makes these coaching conversations so powerful is that by the time we’re done talking, my client has a clear view of two very important things: (1) what they want in the next company they work for, and (2) their own values.

Knowing their own values is imperative because the next time they interview for a job, they’ll be able to evaluate that company through this new knowledge. And that will enable them to make a much more informed decision.

If this kind of a coaching conversation sounds like just the thing you need to get clear on what you want in the next company you work for, I invite you to download my free guide, What is the Right Corporate Culture for you? It walks you through a series of key questions to help you identify the values you bring to the table that need to be matched by the company you work for.

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