Archive for the Diversity Category

Ending The Confusion About Inclusion – Diversity 2071

Posted in Communication, Diversity, Empowerment, Hiring Trends, Inclusion, Job Search, Small Acts of Recovery, Social Media, Uncategorized, Web 2.0 with tags , , , , on November 20, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

On this blog, we try to offer a thought-provoking take on all subjects related to job seekers and their experience on the job market.  As I’ve mentioned, we believe that empowered job seekers will have a significant impact on the overall turnaround of the market itself.  So when we decided to write about Diversity and Inclusion (D&I), we wanted to offer an outlook that you might not find anywhere else.  Having a clear unfiltered picture of what a totally inclusive culture would mean to the business world will explain why so much effort is being put into creating it.  As job seekers, it’s important to know that D&I isn’t going anywhere and that it’s in everyone’s best interest to understand why it is essential to their success to have an idea of where it is headed.

In order to envision the future of D&I, I began considering what kinds of careers the next generation would reflect upon having grown up in a digital age driven by technologies that allow us to connect and share information with increasing rapidity.  I even chose the year 2071, to illustrate the year that children born today would be eligible for retirement based on the current government recognized age of 62. Living in a time when anyone can contribute their thoughts any time they want via social media platforms, I wondered if they will laugh at our generation for ever needing Diversity training in the first place? 

Considering the way the internet is being used today really put D&I in perspective and the more I thought about it the simpler it became.  When you really break down D&I, it’s driven by the fact that–on an individual level–everyone just wants to fit in somewhere and express their creativity freely.  With virtual worlds, online gaming, social technologies, and search engines, being able to experience this is increasingly becoming a cultural norm.  As more and more people engage across digital platforms, it will become more difficult not to engage in other social arenas as well.  So when you eliminate all of the distractions it becomes clear to see that D&I efforts are suited to facilitate the highest level of engagement. Now for many, this may sound too simple and it definitely doesn’t present a clear business case for why time and money should be invested in programs and training to try to get entire organizations on board. So there must be more to it.

Well while companies know that what’s driving the need for D&I is fundamentally simple, it isn’t easy at all.  Transformation never is.  It is uncomfortable and challenges everything we know.  It demands vulnerability in exchange for growth.  And the rewards that come from our efforts will only meet us halfway.  That means we must extend ourselves.  In essence we must put ourselves out there and learn by doing.  For many of us that is too scary.  We’d rather just close our eyes and wait for change to pass us by.  But, that’s not going to happen.  We’ll be pulled in eventually.  Just ask anyone who reluctantly created a Facebook page or people on the job market who are finally accepting the value of a LinkedIn account.  It’s the same process.  And if you still think social media has nothing to do with Diversity, just wait. 

I deleted an earlier version of this post because in the end it was just one more post telling us what we’ve already heard before.  If Affirmative ActionEqual Employment Opportunity, and the idea that diversity breeds innovation were convincing enough, the discussion would have ended long ago and people would be volunteering to learn how they could help the process move forward.  But because in large part, mankind’s fear of loss still generally exceeds their desire for gain, the D&I dialogue will continue until we reach the tipping point where resistance is obviously costing us more than voluntary compliance.  Understanding this is leverage for those willing to take a front seat on this transformational roller coaster. By the year 2071 when the confusion about inclusion is no longer an issue, the retirees will be able to look back on what it took to get to an inclusive culture and simplify it into a definition like the one below.

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) – A systematic process designed to facilitate information transfer through converting a culture from a driving mindset of “What’s In It For Me” (WIIFM)  to one of  “What’s In It For Everyone” (WIIFE) .

Now, you might still be asking what this has to do with your job search.  The answer has everything to do with market relevance.  The market is headed this way and if you are not, your POTENTIAL to contribute will be irrelevant since your resistance will represent an information bottleneck. When it is all said and done I believe the retirees of 2071 will demonstrate that the business case for Diversity and Inclusion never had anything to do with the categories that we break ourselves into and everything to do with increasing the flow of ideas and information. 

Google is growing by leaps and bounds because it feeds our need to know and gives us access to information on demand.  Every time we go to a search engine and look up anything, we increase our expectation to find answers quickly. We are in an age where information is currency and anything that gets in the way of our access to information will be minimized and eventually eliminated.  It is inevitable.  We are fast approaching a point where the only hang ups in communication will be individuals withholding information because they are operating on an obsolete paradigm.  So I submit that in the future of business this will not be tolerated from anyone regardless of a person’s race, color, national origin, sexual identification, age, religion, or disability.  The business case for D&I can’t get any clearer than that.

Creating a Job Search “A-Team”

Posted in Diversity, Interviewing, Job Search, Motivation, Networking, Team Building, Team-Working, Uncategorized on October 12, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

If you or anyone you know has been on the job market for any length of time, you will understand that for most people the hardest part of the job search is staying motivated throughout the process.  Traditionally, we are taught to work for rewards.  At the completion of every action, there is an almost inherent expectation of some sort of feedback.  This can come in the form of money, recognition, or even constructive criticism.  All of which we receive from a job.

Once the job is removed from the dynamic, the context of work will take on a whole new meaning.  When you are seeking full-time employment, finding a job is your job.  For many, the longer they are on the search without receiving feedback relative to the work they do, the more diminished they feel.  It can be equated to working on a project for your employer and never hearing whether or not you are on target.  This is a situation that most workers detest and often leads to disengagement.  But what will be the result of disengaging from one’s own job search?

In his book, Who’s Got Your Back, bestselling author Keith Ferrazzi, encourages his readers to break free of the “go it alone” mentality that is prevalent in our society and to establish what he calls, “Lifeline Relationships” to help build success.  The idea behind his message is simple.  Identify a  few trusted individuals with whom you can freely express yourself and enlist them to help you sustain accountability in achieving your goals. 

When applied to the job search, this group could be part of what is called a “Job Search Work Team”. This concept based on the Pierson Method by Oliver Pierson has been employed by industry leader Lee, Hecht, Harrison for over a decade with great success.  Furthermore, according to www.highlyeffectivejobsearch.com this method is scientifically proven to speed up the job search.

This is why forming your own team for your job search can be a perfect solution to help you achieve your mission.  To illustrate how these teams can work for you, we’ll use the example of the 80’s TV show, The A-Team.  The main lesson to learn from this show is to build a team with diverse skill sets.

  • John “Hannibal” Smith– The Planner.  This character was the one who began with the end in mind and figured out a way to get there.  Having someone like this on your team is essential.
  • B.A. “Bad Attitude” Baracus-The Mechanic.  Inevitably you will run into snags in your plan and when you do, you will need someone who knows how to take what’s broken and either fix it, create a work around, or completely “build a better mousetrap”.
  • Templeton “Faceman” Peck-The Image Consultant.  When interviewing for most jobs, it is very important to dress the part and turn on the charm.  Having someone who has an eye for such things can be vital to interview success.  This is the person you’d want to perform a mock interview with.
  • H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock-The Dreamer.  When things don’t go according to plan, you can’t easily conceive of a work around, and your charm isn’t opening doors, you need an out of the box thinker who simply supports you without condition.  They don’t believe in impossible and can smile while the whole world is frowning.
  • Amy Amanda “Triple A” Allen-The Insider.  To round out your team, you are going to need someone who is connected or at least knows how to follow a trail to decision makers.  Having someone with the investigative flair is always helpful because if they don’t have an answer, chances are they can connect you to someone who does.

Now imagine how much easier your job search might go if you had such a team working with you.  As you already know, networking is often plays a very important role in a job search.  This post encourages to take it a step further and and go from networking to team-working.

Diversity at 50,000 Feet – A Twitterview

Posted in Diversity, Job Search on July 10, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

Thanks to Twitter I had the opportunity to chat with Eric Peterson, Manager of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). For those of you who may be hesitant to join social networks like Twitter, this is a perfect example of how you are denying yourself the opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue with people that you may not have otherwise engaged. 

I happened to catch Mr. Peterson while he was on his way to give a talk at The Alliance for Full Acceptance (AFFA).  Below is our entire tweet stream on the topic of Diversity and Inclusion.  This is a topic of present and future importance for anyone in the business world and therefore an important topic for all recruiters and job seekers.

CareerAssist: RT @EPetersonSHRM: Diversity & Inclusion is a top priority all over the globe: http://is.gd/1rqCF (via @diversitywriter) #SHRM,members only

CareerAssist: @EPetersonSHRM Any ideas to share on why many companies can’t go beyond awareness when it comes to Diversity–falling short of application?

EPetersonSHRM: @CareerAssist In 140 characters or less? At 50,000 ft., awareness is all they know. The bridge between theory and application is wide …

EPetersonSHRM: @CareerAssist … and while thought leadership is there, it’s not being disseminated well (one thing SHRM hopes to contribute meaningfully).

CareerAssist: @EPetersonSHRM Unofficial Twitterview. Read SHRM #Diversity article yesterday. Suggests top down dissemination. Where do you see the blocks?

EPetersonSHRM: @CareerAssist Those at the “top” and at the “bottom” of orgs have compelling (but different) incentives to embrace D&I …

EPetersonSHRM: @CareerAssist … but often, those in the middle are not incentivized (or rewarded) for managing diversity well. Rewards are key.

CareerAssist: @EPetersonSHRM Are these rewards for embracing D&I all tangible? Your thoughts on identifying middle tier influentials and coaching them?

EPetersonSHRM: @CareerAssist They can’t be all intangible – at a high lvl, D&I mgmt has 2 b an integral part of the job description, and managed as such.

CareerAssist: @EPetersonSHRM How do you get around resistance to change and prescribed cultural shift when most ppl equate their culture with “rightness”?

EPetersonSHRM: @CareerAssist Simultaneously push the values case and business case for diversity – and at some pt., zero-tolerance for those who won’t play

EPetersonSHRM: @CareerAssist You can make a strong values case for multiculturalism without attacking the dominant culture …

EPetersonSHRM: @CareerAssist … and strong communication about the biz drivers will help those who find it all too “squishy” for them.

EPetersonSHRM: @CareerAssist And if someone refuses to get on the train after some period of time, the org is – frankly – better off w/out them.

EPetersonSHRM: @CareerAssist And, if they are assessed each year on their D&I performance & found lacking, mechanisms can be put in place to correct that.

CareerAssist: @EPetersonSHRM I’d say that success depends on having an “affiliation culture” versus an “assimilation culture”. Would you agree? #Diversity

EPetersonSHRM: @CareerAssist Yes, absolutely – but getting ppl to understand those terms can be a challenge sometimes. Assimilation is often ingrained.

DM to EPetersonSHRM Thanks for sharing your insight. Is it alright if I put our tweets on one of our blogs?

DM from EPetersonSHRM Sure! That’d be great!

Thanks to Mr. Peterson for taking the time to Tweet with us and  we hope to see more of you in the Twittosphere.