How To Deal With A Hot Labor Market

How to Deal with A Tight Labor Market

How to Deal with A Tight Labor Market

By: Nicole Ferrer

 

Every employer wants the best talent that they can find. They seek the highly educated, the most experienced, and the best leaders that money can buy.

 

While striving for the best is certainly not frowned upon, employers can and should do a better job of understanding how they square in the marketplace so they have a realistic shot at attracting the best talent.

 

Here’s the key - in a tight labor market, the most talented individuals are gainfully employed, and more often than not, they are satisfied with their current employer. This isn’t always the case, but generally speaking, it is.

 

In today’s market, if you’re recruiting strategy produces candidates who aren’t actively working, chances are, you aren’t getting the best talent for your company. A tight labor market requires different strategies to lure passive candidates. If you want the best talent, they will need to be manually extracted from other organizations.

 

Here are two quick areas of consideration:

 

Refine Your Brand / Reputation

 

After talking to a variety of leaders across the country, very few believed that their firms had poor reputations. However, with websites such as Glassdoor, Indeed, and Yelp, employers are able to get a glimpse of how their public profile interfaces with the labor market. Despite the large amounts of data online, this data is often ignored.

 

Companies may not want to dismiss warnings about the need to monitor their online ratings. Job seekers routinely view sites like Glassdoor for insights into the culture and working conditions at a particular company, and they regularly pass over employers with low ratings. 

 

Regardless of its accuracy, it is visible, and savvy candidates are very aware of your online reputation.

 

Only 1 in 5 job seekers would apply to a company with a bad online reputation

 

For those employers who reject these online forums, my advice to them is simple – take a look at your turnover rate. An above-average turnover rate can be a likely predictor of a poor reputation. Employees that leave voluntarily, leave for a reason.

 

Be Realistic About Compensation

 

In the world of business, consumers are usually willing to pay a premium for products that have exceptional value. In the recruiting industry, this is no different. As below average products are almost always priced below average, firms with mediocre hiring strategies will likely be unsuccessful with hiring top talent. As always, there are a few exceptions; however, this is usually the case.

 

Employers that have a lagging market compensation strategy will struggle to attract the best candidates, while those that have leading market compensation strategies will attract talent more easily. Further, from a candidate’s perspective, a firm’s compensation strategy is a central part of their brand.

 

Take the time to think through your firm’s compensation strategy. It speaks volumes about your organization – this is especially so in a hot economy when your competitors are growing.

 

Nicole Ferrer is the managing director of Diversity Recruiters™, an executive recruiting firm specializing in diversity.

Signs of A Tight Labor Market

The job market is so hot right now that workers are 'ghosting' employers without even saying goodbye

By: Mark Abadi 

 

A notorious millennial dating practice is starting to creep into the workplace: ghosting.

 

According to The Washington Post's Danielle Paquette, employers are increasingly noticing that workers are leaving their jobs by simply not showing up and cutting off contact with their companies.

 

"A number of contacts said that they had been 'ghosted,' a situation in which a worker stops coming to work without notice and then is impossible to contact," the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago said in a report this month cited by The Post.

 

HOW DIVERSITY OFFICERS CHANGE CORPORATE CULTURE

 

According to The Post, experts are blaming the uptick in workplace ghosting on the US labor market. Unemployment is at its lowest point in decades, and there are more job openings than there are people looking for jobs, emboldening workers to skip the awkward conversations with their bosses and move on to other opportunities.

 

"Why hassle with a boss and a bunch of out-processing when literally everyone has been hiring?" Michael Hicks, a labor economist, told The Post.

 

Predictably, experts on workplace etiquette frown upon ghosting your employers, as well as any other mean-spirited method of resigning. It's a surefire way to burn bridges and tank your reputation not just with your higher-ups, but most likely any coworkers you planned on keeping in touch with.

 

"Even colleagues who don't have a stake in it are going to see that and think, 'Wow, that's really unprofessional — that person is so immature,'" Caroline Ceniza-Levine, a career coach with SixFigureStart, told Business Insider's Áine Cain last year.

 

When people quit their jobs without notice, it's often a symptom of a bad communication between management and employees, said Caleb Papineau, an executive at the employee-survey firm Tinypulse.

 

"Quitting a job abruptly is neither good for the employee nor the employer," Papineau told Business Insider in 2016. "Employees that feel unheard and underappreciated at times can feel as if they have no choice but to leave abruptly."

 

Instead, he recommended finding time to talk to a manager rather than make a hasty, emotional decision.

 

"Have a plan, be professional, and don't burn bridges unless you have to," he said.

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Hiring Diverse Candidates Is Not Enough — It’s About Keeping Them

Hiring Diverse Candidates Is Not Enough -- It's About Keeping Them

By Maynard Webb, Forbes Contributor

 

We all know that building a company that embraces diversity is the right thing to do, ethically. But it’s also the right thing to do to make your company stronger. The performance of your business will be better if you are more diverse because your  company will be more representative of society as a whole. It better understands its customers, its community and its purpose. Don’t just take my word for it: there’s evidencethat diverse and women-friendly workplaces perform better. A report from McKinsey & Company indicates that the top racially diverse tech companies are 35% more likely to have financial returns higher than the tech sector’s national median. Companies that are more gender diverse are 15% more likely to outperform others, and those that are ethnically diverse are 35% more likely to do better than others. 

 

And yet, in Silicon Valley, where I live and work — and a place that I love for its commitment to innovation and support of founders — has been exposed as an environment that could be vastly improved for a large percentage of the working population.  There’s room and reason for all of us to become better at building workplaces that support and celebrate diversity.

 

As a leader you have to do some important work to allow all that talent to thrive — and this means creating an environment of inclusion and belonging. I went to a panel of experts for advice on what to do to build this kind of workplace. Here’s what they had to say:

 

Examine your culture. Diversity isn’t something you can just hire your way out of. To truly make the workplace more inclusive, evaluate your methods of mentorship and promotion.

 

Support a culture that celebrates inclusion. Embracing diversity requires means that you may need to change the way you work to accommodate a broad range of people.  Employ policies that are equitable for both men and women.  

 

Just as you have to be aware of unconscious biases in the hiring process, it’s important to mitigate issues like unconscious bias through all phases of the employee life cycle. Particular areas to evaluate and make sure they are inclusive include the evaluation process, promotions and succession planning.

 

Understand that workplace enhancements that also promote diversity and inclusion are also efforts that help traditional workers, as well as millennials.  This may including promoting work-life balance; demonstrating the meaning in the work, and rewarding loyalty — all of which are important to many types of workers.  Find a way to welcome and celebrate everyone and ensure no one feels isolated. Provide gender-neutral bathrooms and everything employees need to feel comfortable.

 

Listen. Consider developing a task force internally, made up of anyone who is committed to seeing your business become more diverse. Meet monthly, and give them latitude to take practices from other companies and employ them. Listen earnestly to their suggestions. And give them the latitude to speak and write about their findings — it may be uncomfortable, but building transparency about your company’s interest in improvement will help to win over your next generation of employees.  Solicit feedback from your diverse candidates and ask them to score how you are doing and share what they think you can do better.

 

Grow the circle wider. As you work to become a more modern, inclusive workplace, I encourage you to expand your circle of concern outward. Consider building an internship program with all-female or historically black universities. Adopt a school in an at-risk neighborhood, and send them supplies, bring students into the office, and commit to the school’s improvement. Let your employees tell the story of your company’s journey, in the hopes that you inspire others to follow you.

 

Remember this work must be constant and it requires your consistent commitment and nourishment, but with it you will see the rewards.

 

 

 

 

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How Diversity Officers Change Corporate Culture

How Diversity Officers Change Corporate Culture

These executives change hiring practices, oversee trainings and measure company climate.

By Rebecca Koenig, US News

 

BY 2045, PEOPLE OF color will make up the majority of the U.S. population.

 

That demographic shift, predicted by the U.S. Census Bureau, is one reason why companies are starting to take workplace diversity, inclusion and equity more seriously. In corporate America, this has manifested in part through the proliferation of chief diversity officers, who are charged with creating policies and climates supportive of workers from an array of backgrounds.

 

As of 2012, 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies had diversity executives, according to the Wall Street Journal.

 

"It's becoming standard across companies," says Allison Scott, chief research officer at the Kapor Center, which aims to increase diversity in the technology and entrepreneurship sectors. "I think that's a promising and important sign."

 

However, having a chief diversity officer on the payroll is not a panacea, researchers say.

 

"That all sounds good and well, but in the past there wasn't as much accountability for it," says Kisha Jones, assistant professor of psychology at Pennsylvania State University. "You could get an A for effort for attempting the different practices but not have to show how change happens."

 

Still, the presence of a diversity executive in the C-suite is one sign job seekers should look for when assessing whether a company is equipped to hire and retain diverse workers and effectively market to the heterogeneous customer base of the future.

 

Learn more about what these officers do and other signs to look for when evaluating a company's commitment to diversity.

 

Duties and Conditions for Success

 

The work of diversity officers, also known as equal opportunity professionals, cuts across departmental boundaries. They influence hiring, training and company cultural practices that relate to three "big buckets," explains Archie Ervin, vice president and chief diversity officer at the Georgia Institute of Technology and president of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.

 

The first is diversity, which is descriptive of the ways in which people differ. The second is inclusion, or the extent to which people thrive in a particular institutional setting. The third is equity, or fairness, which is governed in part by federal policies such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (banning workplace discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion and national origin) and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 

 For hiring, diversity officers may work with human resources and recruiting teams to measure the breakdown of job applicant and candidate pools by gender, race and other characteristics and suggest changes to remove hiring barriers preventing different sets of people from getting jobs. They may oversee training programs related to unconscious bias, run workshops about communicating effectively in teams or plan classes about civility in the workplace. To better understand the state of a company's climate, officers may issue surveys asking employees how satisfied they are in their roles, then look for patterns in the results that suggest racial, gender or other disparities.
 
 

Among the conditions critical to diversity officer success are reporting directly to the CEO, having a mandate to set strategies and possessing the authority to hold managers and workers accountable for meeting goals. One of the most important conditions is building a strong business case to justify their work.

 

"They can have that moral stance, but that stance alone isn't going to be enough of a motivation," Jones says. "For organizations, it's always coming back to the bottom line."

 

Challenges Diversity Officers Face

 

With movements like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, diversity dominates today's headlines. That these efforts are controversial hints at the pushback diversity officers sometimes face from "people who are resistant to diversity" and "people who feel like they aren't represented in the diversity initiatives," Jones says.

 

To put it bluntly, she explains, "If white men think things are being taken away from them, that's a tension that needs to be managed."

 

Google grappled with this problem in August 2017, when a software engineer shared an essay that criticized company efforts to boost the standing of women employees and questioned women's general suitability for technology jobs. In reply, Google's vice president of diversity, integrity and governance issued a statement reiterating that the company is "unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we'll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul."

 

The episode exemplifies the common misconception that "diversity officers are only concerned about particular groups," which is "untrue," says Richard Anthony Baker, assistant vice chancellor and assistant vice president of the Office of Equal Opportunity Services at University of Houston and president of the board of the American Association for Access, Equity, and Diversity. "They're concerned about the overall health of the organization by being concerned with everyone."

 

Workers and managers who aren't necessarily opposed to diversity may still find it uncomfortable to talk about, having grown accustomed to "colorblind models" of operating that experts consider to be outdated, Jones says.

 

"We've been trained that we don't talk about race, that these protected classes are things we don't openly, strategically discuss," Baker says. "It's a challenge to get over that apprehension to have the conversation."

 

Other Indications That Companies Value Diversity

 

To figure out whether a company takes diversity, inclusion and equity seriously, diversity officers are just one factor to consider. The Kapor Center's research identified four other criteria as essential to the success of such efforts at technology companies:

 

 

Information about most of these criteria should be easily accessible to job seekers on a company's website, Baker says: "It shouldn't be hard for me to find a diversity statement, diversity office or programming. Do they have affinity groups that have some role within the governance?"

 

These days, company diversity goals should go beyond boilerplate statements, Scott says. When assessing potential employers, she recommends looking for "really sophisticated messages about why it's important and embedded in the work they do and the product they develop." Similarly, check not just that employee resource groups exist, but also whether they have meaningful budgets to carry out programs and channels to communicate with company leaders.

 

Job interviews present candidates with opportunities to do more research. Baker recommends job seekers ask interviewers about company policies on issues important to them, such as accessibility, gender expression and sexual orientation.

 

"If they don't know, that would be concerning to me," he says. "I actually want to hear from employees if that's part of the consistent message."

 

 

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California to Require Public Companies to Have at Least One Woman on Their Boards of Directors by 2019

California to Require Public Companies to Have at Least One Woman on Their Boards of Directors by 2019

By: Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneur Staff


 

California Gov. Jerry Brown over the weekend signed a bill into law requiring publicly traded companies headquartered in the state to include women on corporate boards of directors.

 

According to findings from the 20% by 2020 Women on Boards campaign, women held 19.8 percent of board seats of companies on the Fortune 1000 list. A study of the first five months of 2018 by ISS Analytics found that women made up 31 percent of new board directors at the 3,000 largest publicly traded companies in the United States. An annual global survey from Deloitte found that women hold 15 percent of board seats worldwide.

 

So while the numbers are certainly improving, the progress can best be described as incremental.

 

In California in particular, there are 377 businesses on the Russell 3000 stock index that have all male boards. And while companies such as Facebook and Tesla each have one female board member in Sheryl Sandberg and Linda Johnson Rice, respectively, they too are going to have grow their numbers to fall in line with the new law.

 

How does it work?

 

Now that it’s official, the companies that fall under the law’s purview will be required to have at least one woman on their boards by the end of 2019. By July 2021, at a minimum, there have to be two women on boards that have five members and at least three women on boards that have six or more people. If companies don’t follow the letter of the law, these businesses are looking at fines of $100,000 for breaking the rules the first time, then $300,000 if they fail to comply again.

 

But there are questions around whether the bill might run into a few issues that could render it more symbolic than ultimately practical. In his letter accompanying the signed legislation, Brown wrote, “There have been numerous objections to this bill and serious legal concerns have been raised. I don’t minimize the potential flaws that indeed may prove fatal to its implementation. Nevertheless, recent events in Washington, D.C. -- and beyond -- make it crystal clear that many are not getting the message.”

 

Who's objecting?

 

More than 30 business groups, including the California Restaurant Association and the California Chamber of Commerce, expressed opposition to the bill because, as they wrote in a letter to state lawmakers, “Gender is an important aspect of diversity, as are the other protected classifications recognized under our laws. We are concerned that the mandate under SB 826 that focuses only on gender potentially elevates it as a priority over other aspects of diversity.”

 

What about businesses incorporated elsewhere?

 

Even if a company is headquartered in California, it could very well be incorporated in a different state and could argue that it doesn’t have to comply with the bill because, technically speaking, according to federal law, it only has to follow the rules of the state where it's incorporated. For example, as cited by the Los Angeles Times, more than 80 percent of public companies in California on the Ross 3000 list are incorporated in Delaware.

 

What’s next?

 

In a statement this summer, the bill’s author, state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, said of the impetus behind it: “One-fourth of California’s publicly traded companies still do not have a single woman on their board, despite numerous independent studies that show companies with women on their board are more profitable and productive. … With women comprising over half the population and making over 70 percent of purchasing decisions, their insight is critical to discussions and decisions that affect corporate culture, actions, and profitability.”

 

Whether other state or federal representatives will decide to follow suit remains to be seen. If they did, there are other examples they could look to. Norway passed legislation requiring 40 percent of board seats be made up women in 2006. As of 2017, women held 42 percent of those seats. Countries including Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, India and the Netherlands all have similar laws on the books.

 

But even if there isn’t a legal or regulatory solution, it seems that it has sparked a conversation around diversity on boards. “We have, in fact, seen quite an increase in our search volume in the last month that the discussion has been going on about the legislation,” said Shannon Gordon, CEO of theBoardlist, a platform that connects companies with prospective female board members, who while qualified, may not be on their radar. “Those searches that are coming to us are not all in California. There is a bit of a halo effect that’s happening.”

 

Gordon explained that theBoardlist community is made up of women who have served on boards already, and those who haven't yet had the opportunity. But those women who do have board membership, already have served on an average of three.

 

For any entrepreneur who is growing their business and bringing on board members, Gordon said they should be thinking about who it is that can bring their skill set, background and perspective to help the company solve its most pressing challenges. “The good news is that there is a very large pipeline of talented women that are excited and ready to fill those roles, no matter what competency that board is looking for,” Gordon said. “This legislation will force companies to open the lens and look beyond those first order networks. I anticipate that women who have not yet served on board but are qualified to do so are going to get the chance.”

 

 

 

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How to ‘Really’ Attract Diverse Candidates

Where Is Your Welcome Sign?

Ideas On How To Become A More Attractive Employer

By Anthony J. Wright

 

Some employers have welcome signs. And unfortunately, some do not.

 

When talented individuals are assessing their career options, they look for obvious “welcome” signs. These individuals want some assurance that they are genuinely supposed to be a part of any new organization. Like in any establishment, if we don’t feel welcome, we eventually leave.

 

As an African American male, I have always assessed organizations based on the diversity within their leadership teams (which in my case, also includes the organization’s board of directors). While there are many different criteria that I use before engaging with a new employer or vendor, assessing organizational diversity will always be among my top three.

 

I’ve also learned over the years that a homogenous work environment is usually a sign of intolerance. Quite frankly, in today’s political environment, it can also be a bit scary. Further, a lack of diversity can also signal inadequate strategic thinking, as most of us know that diverse workgroups offer wider experiences and sparks tremendous innovation over the long run.

 

Why then, do so many organizations – especially non-profits – fail to invest in diversity initiatives? While the answer to this question may vary, let’s focus on those firms who get it right. Their results are impressive.


Locate Diverse Executives & Professionals


A recent study by McKinsey & Company sampled the outcomes of approximately 1,000 organizations and determined that firms who invested in diversity had higher profits. Specifically, it was concluded that firms in the top quartile for ethnic diversity are 33% more likely to have above-average profitability, according to the report. The same is essentially true for gender diversity.

 

The least diverse companies are 29% less likely to perform. Go figure.

 

Diverse applicants in any talent pipeline can recite these statistics (and many others) without effort. These individuals almost always prefer forward-leaning organizations. And, during stronger than usual economic conditions, individuals in the talent pipeline can be a bit more thoughtful about their next career move. They will almost always opt to work in a welcoming environment.

 

Many firms unknowingly communicate to diverse audiences that they are not welcome. It only takes a small amount of effort, and potentially a little courage, to make positive change. As America (i.e., your customer) becomes more diverse, it just makes sense for organizations to start thinking more strategically.  

 

 

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Finding the Right Mentor!

Finding the Right Mentor

By Matt D'Angelo, Business News Daily

 

Finding the right mentor is not really a secret to success – it's as obvious as it is essential. Learning from someone older, wiser and more experienced is an invaluable business opportunity, whether you've just started your first job or you're halfway through your career. As we slip into the day-to-day routine of working life, it's easy to get lost in the moment – our problems are 6 inches from our face, and a mentor can be the person to reset things so we can look at our careers and growth from a new perspective.

 

None of this is new information. We all would love to have a guiding hand help us figure out this complex and stressful professional world. If you're looking for a mentor, these are the three most important things to keep in mind:

 

  • Define what you want out of your career and what you need to learn to get there.

 

  • Approach a mentor relationship as if it's a business friendship – be casual and friendly, and try not to ask weird questions like, "Will you be my mentor?"

 

  • Start with your own professional network. We often already have mentors who provide advice in various ways, and all it takes is a little effort from us to grow that connection into an ongoing relationship.

 

Vicki Salemi, a career expert for popular job search platform Monster, said it's important for a mentor and a mentee to realize that the connection doesn't always need to be an intense, formal thing. It's better to focus on maintaining the professional relationship and learning what you can.

 

"It doesn't have to be completely intensive, and that's what both the mentor and mentee should know – it's an ongoing dialogue conversation, and it's a relationship that's not going to completely overhaul your life," Salemi said.

 

Part of finding a mentor means learning how to appropriately follow up, add value to your mentor's life and career, and be proactive in your own career growth. These lessons can apply to any worker at any stage of their career. Especially for young workers who are just emerging in an industry or lack the experience needed to progress, you might feel self-conscious and wary of your endeavors. Sometimes, all you need in these moments is someone to look up to, someone who has been in your shoes but created their own path to success.

 

"The modern mentor can elevate both your mind and your career in a way that cannot be taught in school, a boardroom or on a business trip," said Demetri Argyropoulos, CEO of Avant Global. "For me, mentorship has been an invaluable part of my career growth."

 

 

The first step to find a mentor is defining what you want out of your career. This may not mean planning out your whole career – it's important to leave room to go where things take you – but defining what you want in the short term can give you a clear path forward. Consider your career path and narrow it down so you can determine who has your dream job and who you admire, said Bill Driscoll, a district president for Accountemps.

 

"Successful mentoring relationships happen when the mentor and mentee are the right match," Driscoll said. "Reach out to someone you think you are comfortable with, who can be a neutral sounding board, and [who] will also provide great advice."

 

You can also look in your own professional circle. These individuals can be former bosses, former professors or teachers, co-workers in another department, or family friends. As you look, try to prioritize someone who can give you long-term advice about your industry and has a good idea of your own company and what it takes to advance within your role.

 

"I think it's probably best to have a combination of somebody who knows your internal organization well but not necessarily works there," Salemi said. "They can provide that insight with having a grander view of your career's growth."

 

Someone who has a general idea of your current role and industry will be able to give you advice on things like new projects to explore, certifications or training you need to get ahead, and how to manage office politics within your organization.

 

Once you're ready to reach out to someone, it's important to keep things casual. Salemi said your approach to a potential mentor should be the same as an approach to a potential friend – your relationship will develop over time. Don't force things; stay relaxed. Lessons and advice will come over time.

 

"It's not like you'll be at a conference and chat with someone sitting next to you and say, 'Oh, will you be my mentor?'" Salemi said. "It's a process. It's kind of like when you think about friends in your life, how you met them and how maybe over the period of a year or so you've gotten to become really good friends … in the beginning, you didn't say, 'Will you be my friend?' That would be completely awkward."

 

The difference between mentorships and friendships, however, is in how you follow up.

 

 

Once you've met with someone and had an initial conversation, if you think they can provide valuable advice to you as your career progresses, make sure you think critically about how and when to follow up. If they're open to continuing a dialogue, set calendar reminders on when to follow up. How often you speak with your mentor is up to you, but the goal is long-term, continued insight. That could mean hopping on the phone or meeting for coffee once a quarter, or even just twice a year.

 

"You definitely should make a note on your calendar, because we're so busy time can escape us," Salemi said. "Let's say you connect with your mentor by the end of [October] – make a note to check in with them over the holidays, and then maybe ask to get on their calendar literally for January."

 

While in-person meetings are important, social media offers mentees the opportunity to have regular, no-pressure interactions with mentors. Use Twitter and LinkedIn for light things – interesting articles, book recommendations, important industry news, etc.

 

Social media gives mentees the opportunity to nudge their mentors, reminding them not only that they exist outside of the semiannual dinner, but also that they value the relationship. Be sure not to nudge too frequently, though, or you'll come off as pushy. More importantly, don't discuss important career ideas over email or social media – save that for the in-person interactions.

 

"Make a point of trying to meet up with them," Salemi said. "If their calendar is packed, think outside the box in terms of 'OK, I'll meet you in your office' or 'Can we FaceTime?' just to get that interaction … you shouldn't [just] be sending emails."

 

One final, more meaningful way to connect with a mentor is regular mail. A thank-you note or holiday card can go a long way to show you value your mentor's advice and presence in your life.

 

 

Whether you're the founder of a brand-new startup or an entrepreneur with a bit of business experience under your belt, you can always benefit from a mentor.

 

"A mentor can serve as a sounding board at critical points throughout your career," said Diane Domeyer, executive director of staffing firm The Creative Group. "They can provide guidance on career management you may not be able to get from other sources and an insider's perspective on the business, as well as make introductions to key industry contacts."

 

Doña Storey, OPEN Mentorship Institute mentor and American Express OPENadvisor on procurement, noted that mentors can help their mentees identify and avoid business pitfalls, and work through the challenges ahead of them.

 

Another important aspect Salemi pointed out is that, when we're immersed in our own careers, it's easy to lose sight of the big picture. It's important to have advocates for you – especially early in your career. These should be people other than your boss, and they should provide insight on getting ahead as well as supporting your overall goals.

 

 

At the most basic level, your mentor should have more experience than you and a track record of success.

 

"A great mentor is someone whose qualities make up a much better version of who you envision yourself to become," said Argyropoulos. "On the other hand, some great mentors may help you to learn who not to be like – for example, a very successful businessman who is struggling in his personal life. Great mentors have a complementary skill set and bring different qualities to the table. Different perspectives are valuable in the mentor-mentee relationship."

 

Doug White, career expert and editor of career and management insights website TCG Blog, recommended seeking a mentor who has a strong character and traits worth emulating.

 

"Look for mentors who are authentic, empathetic, creative and honest," said White. "You need someone who's caring and invested in your professional growth, but also someone who will speak truth to you. Sometimes you need some constructive criticism or a reality check, while other times you need a high five or pat on the back. A well-chosen mentor can provide all of those things."

 

A mentor in the same business area as you may better understand your business's challenges and concerns, but Storey said that fruitful mentoring relationships don't necessarily have to happen within the same industry. Leadership philosophy may be more important.

 

"Make sure that the mentor shares a similar value system in leadership and management," Storey said. "Knowing who you are as a leader is critical before entering into a mentoring relationship. Only then can you align yourself with the right guide."

 

 

As a mentee, it can be easy to fall into a pattern of asking a lot of your mentor without giving anything in return. While your mentor might be happy to provide you with advice regardless, it's still important to think of some ways to show your appreciation and make yourself available for your mentor.

 

Salemi said, at the very least, it's important to prove you appreciate the relationship by valuing your mentor's advice and time – if only by arriving at meetings early or adjusting your own schedule to make a meeting more convenient for your mentor. Young professionals may not have a lot to offer their mentors, but they can offer them respect and appreciation.

 

"You can be a great mentee to your mentor by following up when you say you're going to – staying on their radar – because chances are, if they're the right fit for you, they'll appreciate providing information," Salemi said. "Thank them, acknowledge them, don't squander their time."

 

 

The whole point of seeking out a mentor is to get important insight and advance your career. The only way that's possible is if you're proactive about your own situation.

 

"We need to be proactive – what it comes down to is everyone needs to be proactive in their own career advancement and growth," Salemi said. "Let's say you like your job and you think, 'Oh, things are going well' – you still need a mentor because, at some point, you may hit a plateau."

 

With a mentor, keep it simple and stay relaxed about the relationship. There's often a lesson to be learned from someone who's further along in their career. The key is being open to whatever lesson or message that is.

 

"Seek out someone who you want to emulate, who can help you in areas where you're deficient in knowledge and skills," Argyropoulos added. "My most impactful mentor experiences evolved through sharing experiences and stories, and at some point, the mentee can also teach the mentor. You want to create an environment where you're paying that knowledge forward to others."

 

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Closing the Tech Diversity Gap

Closing the Tech Diversity Gap: A Complex Issue Without A Simple Answer

By Casey Leins, Staff Writer

U.S. News

 

IN 2013, MICROSOFT Corporation launched a program designed to transition service members and veterans into the technology industry.

 

The program, Microsoft Software & Systems Academy, now has 14 locations, boasts a 93 percent graduation rate, and has the capacity to graduate around 1,000 students each year.

 

"Veterans are a talent pool we haven't sought in the past," says Microsoft's Vice President of Military Affairs Chris Cortez. "And the military vets very much represent our diverse country."

 

 

Cortez joined other industry leaders and researchers Thursday at U.S. News & World Report's Stem Solutions: Workforce of Tomorrow conference in Washington D.C., to discuss the state of diversity in STEM and how to bridge the gap that still exists.

 

The panelists agreed that veterans are just one example of talent pools that have not been fully explored.

 

A Multi-Faceted Issue

 

But locating these new, diverse groups are only one part of the solution. One theme the panelists reiterated throughout the presentation was that there is no simple solution to bridge the gap and that there are many factors at play.

 

Not only do underrepresented groups need better access to STEM education and careers, but company's cultures need to change and be more inclusive to retain those employees.

 

"It's not just about fixing the student, but how do we change the culture of the institutional structures and frameworks?" says Courtney Tanenbaum, who studies these issues at the American Institutes for Research.

 

Intel Corporation is an example of a company that has been working to increase its diversity and retention rates.

 

"What Intel is trying to accomplish inside the walls of our company is to really mitigate inclusion and diversity issues. It's what society has not yet done outside of our walls" says Barbara Whye, the company's vice president of human resources and chief diversity and inclusion officer.

 

She notes that Intel's research reveals that employees who feel included are seven times more likely to stay at the company.

 

Motivating Underrepresented Groups

 

During the session, a high schooler asked the panelists how she, as a woman of color, can stay motivated and determined to pursue a STEM career despite the fact that she is afraid to fail.

 

The student said that she was one of two females in her school district last year to take the AP computer science exam; the audience applauded. Though she wants to pursue a job in STEM, she said, she is concerned about making errors in front of her teachers and peers in difficult courses and feels pressure to perform well.

 

Tanenbaum said the fact that mistakes are seen as failures is a flaw in the nation's education system.

 

"That mindset needs to shift," she added. "That probably means starting really early [in conveying a different message] to kids."

 

The panelists also noted that role models are important for underrepresented groups.

 

Allison Scott, chief research officer at Kapor Center for Social Impact, stressed the large impact of industry leaders interacting with these students.

 

 

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Too Many Non-Profit Boards Lack Diversity

Too Many Non-Profit Boards Lack Diversity

By: Kenneth Anderson Taylor, Chicago Tribune

 

You may not recognize the name Tarana Burke. She’s the black woman who founded the #MeToo movement a decade ago to support women of color who survive sexual harassment and assault.

 

Although this movement has mostly directed attention to work-related abuses involving white women since it hit critical mass in 2017, it also speaks to me as a black man because of the racial discrimination I personally experienced many years ago as a nonprofit CEO.

 

Today, I blame that predicament on the lack of diversity among the leadership of my nonprofit’s board. Imbalances of power create opportunities for the people who have historically called the shots to abuse their authority — whether that means paying people of color less than whites for the same work or committing the kinds of outrages that the #MeToo movement and its offshoots are now bringing to light.

 

Here’s the big picture: At a time when only 61.3 percent of Americans are white, about 84 percent of nonprofit board members are in that demographic group, along with 90 percent of nonprofit board chairs. When BoardSource, which strives to improve nonprofit management, released this data in 2016, it predicted little progress:

 

“Despite reporting high levels of dissatisfaction with current board demographics — particularly racial and ethnic diversity — boards are not prioritizing demographics in their recruitment practices.”

 

The leadership ranks of nonprofits are, it turns out, a bit more racially and ethnically diverse than their corporate counterparts. Yet I believe nonprofits typically have more of an imperative than private companies to get this right because of their missions.

 

Do-gooders can do better

 

This matters because boards of directors supervise the nation’s nearly 1.6 million nonprofits, providing financial oversight and strategic guidance. In addition, they help with fundraising and hire and manage the group’s top staff. Most board members are volunteers.

 

Nonprofits, such as medical research institutions, houses of worship and shelters for sexual abuse victims, usually fill gaps between what the government and private sector do. A large share of them serve communities with great needs, a population that is disproportionately made up of people of color.

 

Strangely, nonprofit decision-makers seem to either not understand or don’t believe that relying on overly white leadership is at odds with their missions.

 

My own experience illustrates the travails that leaders of color may experience within nonprofits.

 

After spending nine years working for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the nation’s largest youth mentoring organization, I was thrilled to move from its national headquarters in Philadelphia for a job as temporary CEO of its Austin, Texas, affiliate.

 

I was even more excited when the board wanted to hire me permanently six months later. But my enthusiasm soon fizzled upon discovering that the same board that unanimously wanted me to lead the organization also collectively decided to pay me thousands of dollars less than my predecessor — a white woman with less experience than me who had approximately the same academic credentials.

 

Attempting to negotiate a more equitable salary with a board that was all white aside from one black man discouraged me further. I was simply told the matter was not up for discussion. After all, the board’s president-elect stated, I “didn’t have to say yes” and it was the first time I would be serving in this capacity — as it had been for the CEO I was replacing.

 

Just imagine dedicating nine years of your life to an organization with the goal of becoming its CEO, having that dream come true and then realizing your hard work had culminated in an offer to be paid far less than the person you were to replace.

 

Though I eventually accepted the board’s offer based on what I believed to be right in terms of my career path, in my heart I knew I was discriminated against in terms of compensation.

 

Old patterns

 

While most nonprofit staff leaders and board members say they are extremely dissatisfied with this gap, they do little to correct it. In fact, they ignore basic and logical remedies.

 

Most do not make diversity a high priority when they recruit new leaders, for example. As James Westphal of the University of Michigan and Edward Zajac of Northwestern University found in 1995, most board members are identified and recruited through informal practices that are rarely rigorous or systematic.

 

This convention hasn’t changed. Unsurprisingly, it yields recruits who resemble older board members.

 

As a result, new and former nonprofit board members are nearly identical in terms of their ethnic and racial backgrounds, even for groups claiming to value diversity. Maybe they do. But they must prove that.

 

I believe that nonprofit leaders can take some basic steps to draw more people of color into their upper ranks.

 

Since the leadership in most nonprofits is drawn from the board and upper management, a simple first step is to acknowledge the job dissatisfaction of employees of color. Ample research, including my own, indicates that they are generally less satisfied than whites.

 

Unsatisfied employees, whether white or people of color, are more likely to move on. This is especially true for nonprofits, whose employees routinely cite low pay when conveying the reasons for their discontent.

 

In addition, board members and top staff can make and communicate clear plans to achieve the goal of leadership diversity. Consistently communicating why it would advance the group’s mission — and is worth the trouble — is key. So is letting employees of color know that their input is highly valued.

 

Airing feedback from employees of color at board meetings helps, as does requiring nonprofit executives to identify, hire and mentor nonwhites for leadership roles.

 

With many nonprofits undergoing leadership successions today, there’s no time to waste.

 

The Conversation

Kenneth Anderson Taylor is an assistant professor at the Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M University.

 

 

 

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FIVE WOMEN OF COLOR WHO SHOULD BE ON YOUR RADAR

Five Women of Color Who Should Be On Your Radar

By: Lauren Wesley Wilson

 

(Forbes) - There is no doubt that 2018 is becoming the “Year of the Woman,” with the celebration of the first anniversary of the Women’s March to the launch of the Times Up Movement and much more to surely come. Our voices are actually being heard loud, clear, and more than ever before. I proclaim that this year will not only become the “Year of the Woman” but the year for women of color.

 

Women of color are making great strides in the workplace, breaking barriers, and becoming C-suite leaders with impact and influence. While there are many women of color who should be on your radar, I’ve narrowed it down to just five for now. These women are dynamic and making changes inside and outside their office. They’re not speaking at every conference or sucking up all the awards at every industry show. They are strategic where they spend their time, how they show up and what they deliver.

 

Get to know these five insightful women:

 

   

 

1. Rose Stuckey Kirk, President of the Verizon Foundation at Verizon

 

Why you should know her: Rose Stuckey Kirk became president of the Verizon Foundation eight years ago, but has been with Verizon since 1998. She is a shining example of how successful you can be despite gender or race. As a woman of color, she has broken the glass ceiling with her C-level position, serving as a chief corporate social responsibility officer. In her role at Verizon, she is able to provide access to new technology and STEM programs to youth who traditionally come from underserved communities. Rose delivers the type of speech that leaves audiences begging for more time and time again. She is poised, deliberate, and entertaining.

 

 

2. Gloria Mayfield Banks

 

Why you should know about her: Gloria is an internationally renowned motivational speaker who leads a successful sales team as the #1 ranked Elite National Sales Director for Mary Kay Cosmetics. Her latest book “Quantum Leaps” outlines the steps to take to excel in your life. Gloria has spoken all over the nation on topics such as women empowerment and instilling leadership goals in girls. Gloria is an electrifying speaker and will keep you focused and holding on to every word. She has overcome domestic violence and dyslexia. Her podcast "Women Do It Better" has Gloria speaking about the gifts we all have and how to find, understand, and master them in order to excel in your personal and professional life. She is a force to be reckon with.

 

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3. Susan Jin Davis, Vice President Environmental Affairs, Chief Sustainability Officer, Comcast/NBCUniversal

 

Why you should know her: Hilarious, intelligent, and spot on. Susan Jin Davis knows her worth and the stakeholders she serves. In her time at Comcast, Susan negotiated a historic memorandum of understanding between Comcast and the Asian American community as part of the Company’s merger with NBCUniversal, creating an unheard of commitment in the areas of programming, supplier and employment diversity and community investment. She serves on Comcast’s Internal Diversity Council and is a Company liaison to the Comcast and NBCUniversal Joint Diversity Council. Susan is also an executive sponsor of Asian Pacific Americans at Comcast, a Company Employee Resource Group.

 

 

4. Radhika Jones, Editor in Chief of Vanity Fair

 

Why you should know her: Radhika is not only the first ever Indian American to be Editor in Chief at Vanity Fair, but she is also the first woman of color to ever be Editor in Chief since the publication’s inception in 1913. Radhika Jones is a Harvard University graduate and has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia, where she was also a lecturer. Her position in Vanity Fair has broken new grounds, and will hopefully open the door for other women of color to be in such roles in the near future.

 

 

5. Linda Sarsour, Political Activist and Co-Chair of the Women’s March Movement

 

Why you should know her: As a child of Palestinian immigrants, some of Linda’s early activism entailed defending the civil rights of Muslims living in America. She helped to organize the American Muslim community's response to the Black Lives Matter protests by forming "Muslims for Ferguson." In 2017, the organizers of the Women’s march recruited Sarsour as co-chair of the event. She became co-chair of 2017’s Day Without a Woman, which took place on International Women's Day. She is a loud and strong advocate for women’s rights as well as for underrepresented women of color around the nation.

 

Lauren Wesley Wilson is the founder of ColorCommwhich holds its annual ColorComm Conference for women of color in communications, marketing, & advertising. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

 

 

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