Tag Archives: making a difference

Giving back, what does that look like again?

With summer  here, it is easy to get in the habit of hitting up a patio after work with friends to socialize. However don’t forget about giving back. Have no clue what I am talking about?
 
Well I am talking about a) the upcoming professionals who will join the ranks of the workplace in a couple of years and b) your current network, which may need some maintenance.
 
Over the last two years, I have changed jobs, finished a MBA, and moved.  Life is crazy at times; I can say from experience it’s hard to make others a priority in the midst of the madness, but it is well worth the effort. 
 
Thinking back to when I finished my first diploma, the best classroom sessions were when work professionals came to the classroom and shared their real life examples and wisdom. Those classes got me pumped to persevere and helped me get through summer semesters.  Sharing your work experience is such an easy way to give back.
 
Recently I went to a high school event for ICT Day (Information, Communications and Technology) in Coquitlam. A bunch of fabulous women joined together that day and shared with the students what reality is like for women in the technology industry – an industry which is significantly under represented for female workers. After a wonderful day of sharing, coaching and conversation, I couldn’t get over the excitement in some of the girl’s eyes. I felt that same excitement all over again. 
 
I had two thoughts at the end of that day: I wished I had the same opportunity when I was in elementary school, and I wished there were more schools that went above and beyond to expose students earlier in their education to the reality of and love for work in the professional world.
 
Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 1.36.29 PMSoon after I went back to my old stomping grounds of BCIT with one member from my team and gave a presentation to an eager group of marketing students, again, the engagement and excitement in the room was palpable. (Picture on left is after the presentation).
Our school system is one that continues to get criticized, and rather than add to the noise, I gave back. My form of giving back was my time. I simply supplemented the post secondary curriculum with examples from my everyday work life – examples which sometimes seem ordinary to me.  I gave these students some real examples, data, war stories and hopefully inspired them. 
 
I am not solving the root problem, but I am helping by sharing with those who are about to take flight in their careers my passion and love for work.  I am paying it forward, as someone once did for me.
 
Lastly, don’t forget your current network, colleagues who are probably hitting up those patios too. Summer a great time to check-in on people with whom you haven’t connected in a while, or to keep those hundreds of “let’s do coffee” commitments.  
 
In the last month I can say I have paid back my network debt and feel more connected within my industry and field of work.  The payoff? I’ve been able to get more done, and strengthened work relationships, by simply dialling a “friend” to ask a question rather than googling it. 
 
Let’s get real here, this is simply good Karma. Before summer gets in full swing, look at your calendar and see where you can donate your time to a high school, university, or a colleague in your field. I suspect you will be happy you did. 
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Part 2: Are you a Manager (and you just hired someone), read this!

In part 1 of hiring someone, I focused on the employee experience, which is very important. However, this blog is dedicated to the business side of the onboarding experience.

So many times managers forget the journey it took to hire an employee, from last year’s budgeting, the job descriptions, interviewing and making a final decision. Many things can change over the course of time, so its important to realign your new hires purpose, expectations, measures of success and what the first 90 days should look like (or whatever number of days). Here are some things to consider and get you started.

1. Look at the job description with new eyes (yes you are familiar with it, likely you wrote it or some of it)

  • See if your new hire really fits the bill, usually not! So think about what they will succeed right away and where you need to provide them safe learning opportunities to work on their shortcomings.

2. Was there something about this candidate that made you change course a little? (That’s okay by the way)

  • If you ended up picking up a high potential that was some level off your original plan, you may really need to start from the job description point above and figure out a plan of action (ie. Update the job or start from scratch).
  • From experience, I recommend putting a high level list of things you need and then getting into the details after that.

3. Plan their first week and expected outcomes.

  • This is more than ‘making relationships’ because trust me, no one likes feeling useless – even in the first week. Make a schedule or make meetings with this person’s future VIP’s (not yours) and do a soft intro and some expectation setting with both parties.
    • WHY? You would be surprised how many times people have fabricated this new employees job, so consider this a level setting exercise.

4. Provide the new hire a list of specific and achievable (but still challenging) outcomes you would like to see with some dates

  • I personally like the 30/60/90 day framework and I do casual check-ins and see how things are progressing. I would note here, its important to also be flexible, some things will come easier than others, but know to look for appropriate or inappropriate behaviors and address those quickly.

Good luck on onboarding your new hire, you got this!

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