Randstad Canada HR Blog

Mentorships, the good, the bad and the ugly : Women Shaping Business

Posted by James Rubec on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 @ 10:07 AM

As part of the Women Shaping Business Program, we looked at mentorship with one of our panellists from events we held across the country. Dr. Rebecca Sullivan, an Associate Professor of the Department of English, joined a panel of experts in a discussion in Calgary as part of our program on November 13, 2014, and was gracious enough to sit down with Randstad Canada to talk on mentorships and how to make the most of them. Professor Sullivan was instrumental in the development of our Calgary program and we thank her for valued input. To learn more, visit, www.womenshapingbusiness.ca

130919_EDIT_Rebecca_Sullivan_0002Q&A With Dr. Rebecca Sullivan: 
Some mentorships work well, others are well ... just work

While mentorship has value, not all mentorships are created equal. Dr. Rebecca Sullivan a professor in the Women’s Studies Program at the University of Calgary sat down with Randstad Canada and added some context to our survey results. Here are her insights on our mentorship and gender divide data.

Q: Our study showed that very few women are taking part in mentorships, with 76 telling us that they’ve never had a mentor and haven’t sought one out, does this surprise you?

A: This survey’s results aren’t surprising at all. Mentorship can often just mean added labour with no tangible benefits, especially since the data shows a lingering bias toward promoting mentored men. A Harvard Business Review paper titled Why Men Still Get More Promotions Than Women[1], looked at 4,000 high performing men and women MBA graduates engaged in mentorship programs between 2008 and 2010. What the study found was that while women were getting a great deal of guidance and support, men got more promotions.

The study’s authors interviewed their subjects and found that most said the mentorship programs led to a great deal of extracurricular work beyond their actual jobs – the mentorship programs were a burden.

Q: So if mentorship in the formal sense don’t work, what does?

A: It isn’t that they don’t work, they just don’t work evenly. Sponsorship, when a mentor, or manager promotes an employee to business leaders and goes beyond giving advice and into lobbying for someone, you are on better footing. There are two other things;

  1. Informal mentorships can be great, indeed that’s where many men have enjoyed advantages and opportunities. We need to find out how these mentorships work, what sorts of skill sets are valued and how promising, talented men are brought into the circles of leadership. But in doing that, we also need to learn how those same networks help keep the promising, talented women out.

  2. Organizations need to make efforts to recognize the accomplishments and capacity of female professionals at an earlier stage. Too often, women are expected to prove their abilities at a much higher rate than men, who are promoted as much on potential as on actual accomplishment.

MentorQ: What can women do help themselves advance faster?

A: There’s the big question. “What can we do to help ourselves,” implies that this is our problem.
At one time, Hewlett-Packard was seeking to increase the number of women in senior roles, so they looked at their HR files and found that women would apply to a role when they had 90 or 100 per cent of the qualifications. A man would apply at 50 or 60 per cent, sometimes even lower.

There is a tendency to look at this stat and say, “Well women just need to work harder, demand more and be more assertive with what they want. They need to ‘lean in,’ therefore this indicates that women lack confidence.”

That’s a big leap. Personal empowerment is a powerful tool for many, but reading that a gender “confidence” gap is the root of all our gender equality issues puts the problem back on the shoulders of women – this makes us the problem again. Some personality flaw in our chromosones that we have to fix.

When women are made responsible for the systemic barriers that block their entry into leadership, they get caught in a vicious cycle. Acknowledging a barrier appears like whining, or weakness, or lack of confidence. So some women end up banging their heads against that glass ceiling until they burn out and give up.

Q: How does this play out in the world of work?

A: A great example of this is in the STEM fields, where fewer than 22 per cent of the employees are women.
Now, women make up 48 per cent of the work force nationally, they represent over 50 per cent of STEM graduates, it is hard to see how confidence alone is going to make up a 28 per cent difference between men and women in STEM fields. So if the problem of women isn’t women, then what is it? The answer is clear, but it means recognizing inequities and imbalances that privilege those already in leadership.
As the results of this survey have shown the divide is real and it needs to be addressed at the organizational level.

Back to the Harvard study, mentorship does still help women advance – but what makes it possible for women to continue to advance are organizations that accept that bias exists and actively fight against it, through awareness training and the very action of promoting women to leadership positions.

The value of your mentorship program is in the promotion of leaders not necessarily in the process that got them there.

Mentorships only have value if they end in results – professional advancement, new skills, higher levels of retention, positive morale, pay raises or all of the above.

To join the discussion and more in the Women Shaping Business Linkedin Group.


Here are other articles from our Women Shaping Business series:

1. Can women have it all?

2. How I overcame imposter syndrome

3. Let's talk about dress

4. Mentorship vs Sponsorship

5. Women Shaping Busines 2014: Shrinking the divide, expanding the conversation


[1] Why Men Still Get More Promotions Than Women http://hbr.org/2010/09/why-men-still-get-more-promotions-than-women/ar/1
[2] Few females in STEM fields http://wiseatlantic.ca/pdf/Interview%20with%203%20chairs/NSERC_Part_Two_03.pdf


Tags: calgary, Randstad Canada, Mentorship, Female leaders, gender equity, leadership

Women Shaping Business 2014 : Shrinking the divide, expanding the conversation

Posted by Randstad Canada on Mon, Nov 17, 2014 @ 08:35 AM

According to the third annual Women Shaping Business survey conducted by Randstad Canada, the gender divide has been shrinking in today's workplace.  As salary continues to be a discussion point when it comes to gender equality, the survey revealed a decrease in the perceived salary gap between men and women - 65% this year in comparison to 78% last year. Other areas where women have also seen progress include, better work-life balance and flexible working arrangements.
After reviewing the results from a survey of 1,000 Canadian women, we have the resullts of our annual Women Shaping Business Survey. 

Tags: Randstad Canada, Female leaders, gender equity

Women Shaping Business: overcoming the ‘’motherhood gap’’

Posted by James Rubec on Thu, Nov 13, 2014 @ 12:06 PM

MAT_leaveAs part of the Women Shaping Business Program, we looked at maternity leave as a resource for families looking to grow while staying in the workforce. We spoke with Shannon Young, Randstad Canada’s Human Resources Manager to learn more about the programs offered by the government and Canadian corporations.

Maternity leave is still a burning issue for women and organizations today. Is a year off putting too much of a strain on organizations? Is taking a year off hindering the chances of women to access senior positions?  In 2012, when Yahoo! appointed Marissa Mayer, six months pregnant, as its new CEO, many viewed the move as a sign that perceptions are evolving, and that employers are starting to believe motherhood and the executive office are in fact compatible. Mrs. Mayer admitted that she was only going to take a few weeks off, showing that the challenges of handling the two are still very real. How do Canadian women today reconcile their desire to raise a family with their professional obligations and aspirations?

Taking the full year off: more and more of a standard for Canadian women

MATIn Canada, each mother is given the opportunity under the law to take a 17 weeks of maternity leave, as well as 35 weeks of parental leave that can be taken either by parent, or adoptive parents.  Companies must provide their employees with that time off, without a penalty to their position, meaning they are guaranteed to have their job when they get back from maternity leave. The Canadian government, through the employment insurance program, offers women and families on leave a little over $500 a week as a maternity leave benefit.

“This is really the cornerstone of Canada’s social family programming,” says Shannon Young, Randstad Canada’s Human Resources Manager. “That time for pair bonding is fundamental to childhood development and the program as it stands facilitates that.”

“What I’ve seen is that more and more women are willing to take the full period of maternity leave off,” explains Young. “Where 10 years ago there was more sense that getting back to work was a priority, these days,  by the time the child is born and families are on leave, they aren’t rushing back to work,” adds Young.

Some industries and companies include additional benefits for women or men who go on maternity leave. These can include pay during periods when they would traditionally be waiting for their firm maternity leave benefit cheque from the government.

“In the healthcare and education sectors,  these sorts of benefits are almost standard. They are a highly effective recruitment and retention tool – when you are planning a family, you want that security,” says Young. 

Going back to work: the challenges and the solutions

But is maternity hindering the chances of women’s progress in the organization? According to our latest Women Shaping Business Survey, 51% of women are worried about their maternity leave having an effect on their ability to move up.

“Things change. You leave the office for a year, you might have a new manager, you might be have a new phone system, you might be working in a different office, your company may have been purchased, everything in a business can change in a year.  That’s something that most women and most corporations have not necessarily thought through when people go on maternity leave,” said Young.

More and more organizations are implementing special programs to ease the transition and remove barriers, for example by pairing female employees on leave with a female coworker to meet and chat about projects and office news, or to assist in winding down before maternity leave and after with the reintegration.

“Organizations have to realize that it isn’t always about the benefits, but also about how well they plan their employees’ return to work. You can’t expect someone to jump back into work after six months or a year off and be back up to 100% in a week.”

Either way, for women or family looking to plan a family, building an understanding of the benefits and programs that are available to you and what you can negotiate for is a great first step. To learn more about the government’s maternity leave visit service Canada’s website, here.

Three tips for getting back to work after a maternity leave:

  1. Plan for a new on boarding: Work with your human resources team and your manager to build a program to help you reintegrate back into your old job or the new one you’ve taken on after your leave. This might be as simple as setting up a meeting to learn new IT processes, or the new phone system, or as complex as a full week of training on a new business line.

  2. Set up meetings with internal business leaders: Before you get into the swing of things, book a few minutes and speak with departmental leaders to learn the current dynamics at play in the office – what the company’s priorities, what are some of the business issues that need to be addressed? This will give you a better picture of how to operate effectively on your return.

  3. Stay in touch while on leave: Be sure to communicate with your manager and your HR department about your plans and date of return. This serves two purposes, one, it helps you stay on top of mind with your team and manager the second it helps you keep on top of some of the activities going on in the workplace.  

To join the discussion on maternity leave and more in the Women Shaping Business Linkedin Group.



Tags: Women Shaping Business, maternity leave, Mentorship, Female leaders, Womenshapingbiz

Canada up 43,000 Jobs in October, Women See Gains

Posted by James Rubec on Fri, Nov 07, 2014 @ 09:14 AM

With the lowest unemployment rate since 2008, Canada gained an estimated 43,000 jobs in October according to Statistics Canada, dropping from 7.0% to 6.5%.October-labour_force

"In the 12 months to October, employment rose by 182,000 (+1.0%), with the growth in September and October of this year accounting for two-thirds of this increase.

Compared with October 2013, part-time employment rose by 101,000 (+3.0%) and full-time employment was up 81,000 (+0.6%). Over the same period, the number of hours worked rose slightly (+0.4%)." STATS CAN.

Women employed at a higher rate

Of particular note was that women between the ages of 25 and 54 gained the lion’s share of the jobs, with women in Canada gained 34,000 full-time positions in October .

Major winners on the job front were, retail and whole sale trade, education workers and finance and leasing industry.

For the second month in a row, private sector jobs saw an increase of over 70,000 positions, while public sector jobs fell by 54,000 positions mostly in public administration.

Ontario's employment picture brightens

The important manufacturing sector also saw an increase of 33,000 employees between September and October, while Ontario saw its unemployment rate drop from 7.1% to 6.5% along with the Canadian picture.

This is amid an uncertain pricing model for global oil, which has seen sharp decline dropping to below $80 a barrel for the first time in four years, contributing to the drop in the Canadian dollar to its lowest level in five years $0.87 CND to the American dollar.

In remains to be seen if this relates to a decline in the natural resources sector, which between September and October of this year has seen a drop in employment by 22,000 workers.

Follow Randstad Canada on Twitter @RandstadCanada for more Canadian workforce trends. Want to learn more about the labour picuture for women in Canada? You can learn more about Randstad and join the women shaping business Linkedin group, register here today.

Tags: Randstad Canada, Women Shaping Business, Canadian employment, Jobs numbers

Mentorship vs Sponsorship: what are they, what are the differences?

Posted by James Rubec on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 @ 08:55 AM


Mentorship vs Sponsorship: what are they, what are the differences?

This article is part of Randstad Canada’s Women Shaping Business program, aimed at exploring the career challenges and opportunities that current and aspiring female leaders face in today’s organizations.

If you haven’t had a mentor you’re not a alone, in Randstad’s 2013, Women Shaping Business report, we found that 84 per cent of women said they’ve never had one, however for organizations looking to grow, making investments in training through mentorship or sponsorship pays dividends.

Mentorship programs and professional sponsorship especially, are ways to take aspiring leaders and mould them into the businesses’ next generation of executives.

How do these two important tools in advancement and training differ?

Mentorship: guidance up the ladder

A lot people have had mentors, they might not have been called that, but they’ve had one. They might have been a teacher, they might have been a coach, but most professionals have had a person more senior than them that has taken interest in their advancement and provided advice.  This is a mentorship relationship – when one person invests time in another and the other listens and acts on their advice.

Some organizations have formal programs to foster these relationships; these have structure, a defined start and end period and activities that are built into the program to follow. In some cases employees apply to be part of these programs, other times they are delegated the relationships as a duty or responsibility. Mentors go through a similar process but they are often given a choice on who to mentor.

Other mentorships are informal. They can happen as a course of a daily interaction between two team members, or through a manager and employee relationship. What defines them is a senior guiding a junior and the junior advancing through the ranks or gaining new skills.

This is also where sponsorship blends with mentorship, because the best mentors act as sponsors for their mentees.

In an interview with Forbes, Sylvia Ann Hewlett put it nicely,”If mentors help define the dream, sponsors are the dream-enablers. Sponsors deliver: They make you visible to leaders within the company — and to top people outside as well.”

Sponsorship: opening the doors  

Professional sponsorship is when one person promotes someone to their colleagues or peers for a position. This can be when someone is asked for their suggestions for an internally promoted role and a sponsor brings up their mentee’s name. As well this can be done in passing when a manager discusses the high quality of one of their employees’ work.

Sponsorship has a stronger relation to professional advancement than mentorship alone. It has been shown to increase the likelihood that female leaders will be promoted to advanced positions and can significantly impact someone’s career trajectory. A great sponsor kicks down doors and guides their mentees on the way through them.

Differences and benefits

Both informal and formal programs have benefits. Informal mentorship leads to more sponsorship, but formal mentorship programs are great tools for passing corporate knowledge between different generations of workers.

Another advantage of a formal mentorship program is being able to track the progress of those involved. Informal mentorship might be better at leading to sponsorship but it is hard to measure.

When you look mentorship programs they benefit both the mentee and mentor

A study published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior, which compared senior professionals who had mentors and those that didn’t, found mentors had greater job satisfaction.

While these types of programs may add work and take time to foster and maintain retaining quality senior professionals and helping them gain satisfaction from their work is a valuable benefit.

Sponsorships are bridges for great employees to get ahead, for sponsors they are vetting for people they believe in, this can be a risk. The reward is in seeing someone they know can do the work, succeed and bringing a strong ally further up the chain of command.

How has sponsorship helped you in your career?  Have you ever had a mentor before? Let us know on Twitter@RandstadCanada.!

You can learn more about Randstad and the Women Shaping Business program on the WSB Linkedin group, register here today.

Here are other articles from our Women Shaping Business series:

1. Can women have it all?

2. How I overcame imposter syndrome

3. Let's talk about dress

Tags: Women Shaping Business

Can women really have it all?

Posted by Alexandra Levey on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 @ 02:17 PM

I am entering that phase in my life where starting a family is on my mind, and not for the reason you’d think. It seems that this is going to be a pivotal moment in my career. I have been to quite a few conferences on women in business over the past two years and at almost all of them the conversation has steered towards maternity leave. It seems that when a women hits the point in her life when starting a family seems conceivable (pun intended), she is forced to make a choice: either continue climbing the corporate ladder and put family plans on hold (sometimes indefinitely), or take a step back from her career and focus on her family. From what I’ve heard from the women participating in the panel discussions at these events, I am going to start to fear that I will be passed over for promotions; that my career will stall. Although these are issues that do concern me, the biggest one I fear is being forgotten altogether. What happens if I take my maternity leave and my replacement is younger and smarter than me without any plans for a family? I know that there are laws in place in Canada to protect women in this situation, but they only ensure she has a job waiting for her. It doesn’t mean it will be the same one she left and it doesn’t promise that everyone will hold her in the same regard as they did pre-baby.


Further stoking the fires, there seems to be a tendency with senior level women not utilizing the full maternity leave and only using 6 months. As much as I appreciate the ambition and dedication to their career, this trend makes me nervous. If these women are only using 50% of their leave and making sure they keep one foot in the door at their company, does that mean that the women who utilize their full leave are considered less dedicated? What happens if I decide to have children and have a difficult pregnancy, leaving me bedridden weeks prior to even having the child. Will I be penalized for that too?

I’d much rather that businesses praise women for taking these periodic breaks in their career to have a family. From what I’ve experienced, the women who take time off to raise a family are warm, nurturing, smart and excellent managers of people and time. There are certain qualities that mothers bring to the business world that should be praised and appreciated more- patience, time management, people management, prioritization, and knowing when to say no- so why don’t companies look at maternity leave as a women’s time to further develop these skills?

So, what I want to know is how do you stay relevant while you are at home raising a family? Is it easier now to keep your name out there with sites like LinkedIn allowing you to engage in the business world virtually? Or does it make it even harder to stay relevant with the amount of news and information passing through the internet on a minute-by-minute basis? Is the guilt between balancing career and family real?



10 Employment Survival Tips You Don't Learn In School

Posted by Social Team @Randstad on Thu, Oct 02, 2014 @ 08:57 AM


10 Employment Survival Tips You Don't Learn In School

By Michelle Young, Randstad Canada proposals coordinator

1. Never stop trying

Dreamers dream big - all the time. They constantly see possibilities where others see obstacles. If you’ve always been told you couldn’t do something all your life, how would you believe anything else? Changing your mindset on your definition of success might help with that. If you believe in yourself first and work hard, you have a chance. People who believe they will succeed are the ones that dare to try to accomplish something no matter what anyone says. They are the ones that try a completely new way of doing something. Think differently, stand out from the pack, push the envelope and get recognized.

2. Do not be afraid to fail

Failing is the biggest part of success. Famous people don’t become famous overnight. They get hundreds, even thousands of rejection letters, doors slammed in their faces before someone gives them a chance. Inventors don’t stop building a product if it doesn’t work the first time. Being innovative takes time and discipline. You must first fail to appreciate success. Being ok with failing and not letting it stop you in your tracks is how will you difference yourself from a failure to a person who succeeds. Grow from your failures, learn how to do it different and keep moving forward.

3. Stick to your goals

In today’s busy world of work, we’re all guilty of setting too many priorities. The truth is that you can’t possibly become an expert in anything if you don’t give it 100%. Get rid of any distractions and focus on what you want to see being realized the most and stick to it. Work hard at it and don’t give up on it. Remind yourself of why you started it in the first place and ask others to keep you accountable to your goals. Stay focused and become an expert in something.

4. Do what makes you happy

What makes you happy might not be a conventional career or the career you currently have. Being happy at work could be because of what you do on a day to day basis or because of the people you get to work with. If your work doesn’t make you happy, change it. The solution is not always to look for another job, but to make the best out of your situation. Find the area about your job that makes you the happiest and ask your manager to do more projects with it. Work on projects that allow you to use that skill that makes you feel good about yourself and where you succeed the best. You will be working for over 40 years; you might better like what you’re doing.

5. Use the downtime to advance professionally

In the low workflow times or when you’re waiting for that person to reply to your email or phone call - use that time wisely. Read articles on professional development, career advice, and management and leadership tips. Focus on your career goals and how close you are to achieving them or try to see if you’re heading in the right direction professionally. Take career advancement courses during your lunch time, learn new skills, talk to your co-workers or go for a walk. For a creative mind, there are no down times, only opportunities to achieve something.

6. Stop taking things personally

Everyone is going through their own battles, so it’s important to always be respectful. Someone’s sharp comment to you might not be about you at all. Don’t let what’s going on in someone else’s life reflect onto you and affect your day. If that person didn’t invite you to lunch, they probably just forgot, it doesn’t mean they don’t like you. If that co-worker is rude to you on the phone requesting information it might be because they are getting pressure from a higher up on the other side. Be professional, always, and let it slide off your shoulders.

7. Leave it at work

Yes, your work needs you in order to move forward in that project, but your family needs you too. At the end of the day, finish that email and shut it down. Schedule some time with your family for when you need to open up your email to check on work during the weekend, but keep it at a minimum, most of the time, it can wait. Stop taking yourself so seriously and focus on what’s really important, your family. Be there for your kids’ plays and graduations. Be present where you are, all the time.

8. Don’t be too hard on yourself

So you didn’t get that promotion you were hoping for or that raise you wanted. It doesn’t mean you didn’t deserve it or that you didn’t work hard enough. You did your best, but someone had worked hard also and you know what? They were better. Or maybe your boss was telling you the truth when they said there was simply no budget but they hoped you would stay. It doesn’t mean you are not appreciated, needed or wanted. Ask how to improve your chances for the next round and keep working ahead.

9. Know how to have fun

Get up from your cubicle from time to time to chat with some co-workers by the coffee machine, even if you don’t drink coffee. Don’t run in and out of the kitchen without making eye contact with anymore. Say “hello” and “how are you?” to your co-workers. A simple gesture can go a long way. You spend over 40 hours a week with these people – get to know them. They might not be your best friends, but they are in the same industry as you and know a little about what your day to day tasks might look like better than most of your friends and family. Being friendly to co-workers can also be great networking in the future if someone leave for another company and you keep in touch.

10. Learn to say no

When you start off in your career, you feel like you need to impress. This is a deadly trap to overwork you. If you do a good job and you do it quickly, people will start to recognize this and lean on you. This sounds good, but it’s not. It’s important to learn how to say no to your co-workers when you are not able to do the task because you have your own work that needs to get done. There is a balance to this and it’s up to you and your workload. But don’t say yes just for the simple reason of for others to like you. You will get more respect from co-workers if you say no from time to time because you understand your workload and that your time is valuable.


These are some tips to keep in your tool belt in your first year on the job and good to keep filed away as a reminder for later on in your career as well. Good luck to all of you starting out in your careers! For those who have been working for a while, we’d love to know what are some tips someone has given you in your career that have helped you move forward or become better than you ever thought you could be? Please share your tips in the comments below!

Get in contact with us on Twitter @RandstadCanada 

Want some more great career advice?

Check out these posts:

1. How I overcame imposter syndrome
2. Let's Talk About Dress
3. I Work With Nerds and That's Okay

Tags: Randstad Canada

How I overcame the impostor syndrome

Posted by Marie-Noelle Morency on Tue, Sep 30, 2014 @ 11:35 AM

How I overcame the impostor syndrome

By Marie-Noëlle Morency, PR & Communications, Randstad Canada

impostor syndrome

Reflecting back on my career path, I cannot help but think about my mother. I heard her ask me the same question over and over again: "You are smart, educated, you can write, you can sing. I wish I had so many talents. Why are you so unsure about yourself?"

Simply put, I was afraid that someone, sooner or later, would realize that I'm not that smart. I'm not that talented. Yes, I was suffering from the ever annoying, relentless, wing-clipping impostor syndrome.

The impostor syndrome is of course not a new concept. It was discovered by psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978. People who suffer from it are deeply convinced that they are frauds, and tend to diminish their accomplishments. Everybody can fall into that trap, but studies show women are more affected by this than men, and this phenomenon is especially observed among many high-achieving women.

Escaping the spiral of self-doubt

No matter how good people would tell me I was, self-doubt was always sitting quietly right on my shoulder, waiting to shout in my ear and crush my enthusiasm on a whim. At the beginning of my career, I would not talk in meetings because I was scared my questions or comments would sound dumb or pointless. I would be reluctant to participate in brainstorming sessions because I was afraid I would not have any spectacular, jaw-dropping idea to share.



But, I was good at what I was doing, so I accomplished things, led successful projects, made a difference in my workplace. I gained confidence over time. I also realized that to overcome the impostor syndrome, you must be the exact opposite of an impostor: you have to be real.

For a long while, I thought that to be successful in my career, I had to become that extraverted smooth talker who masters the art of working a room. We forge so many preconceived notions of what success is, that we forget who we are.

I'm not the one who will come up with a thousand clever taglines on the spot. I am the one who will regroup to gather her thoughts and come up with a well thought-out, creative and executable campaign. And it's fine. I'm not the scrupulous planner who sees every last detail of any project. I'm the strategic thinker who connects the dots and sees the big picture. And it's fine.

Owning who you are

  • Don't force yourself to be something that you are not.
  • Don't fake an answer if you don't know.

One of my bosses said to me once: being strategic is not about knowing the right answers, it's about asking the right questions. Take a break from talking, and listen, ask, challenge, probe, read, consult. Make mistakes and take risks. No matter what happens, you will gain precious insights, view things from a different point of view, be exposed to different realities, and open up to new ways of thinking, creative solutions and smart ideas along the way.

Take care of yourself. It's not about working harder, it's about working smarter, balancing it out, learning how to delegate and prioritize, keeping your body and soul healthy and recharged.

Take credit for your bright ideas and keep track of your accomplishments. Refrain from the temptation of using the words ''team effort'' every time you talk about your successes. Of course the contribution of all team members is important, but when you are the one who steered the team in the right direction, who found an innovative solution, or who made a brave decision, acknowledge it.

Know yourself, inside out, and define your personal brand. Summarize in one or two sentences what you are, what are your unique talents, how you want to contribute, where you want to go. If it's clear for you, it will be clear for everybody around. It will help you make the right choices that are in line with what you truly are and want.

This is how I overcame the impostor syndrome. And yes, my mother is very proud.

Keep this conversation going in our Linkedin group aptly named Women Shaping Business. You can register for it here today.

Want to hear from other female leaders from Randstad?

1. Let's Talk About Dress
2. I Work With Nerds and That's Okay







Tags: Marie-Noelle Morency

Let’s talk about dress

Posted by Social Team @Randstad on Wed, Sep 24, 2014 @ 07:18 AM

Let’s talk about dress

Faith TullBy Faith Tull, senior vice-president, human resources, Randstad Canada

There comes a time in everyone’s career where they realize the need to step it up and step into a new wardrobe - and moreso a new mindset.

It might be when you’re working towards a promotion, it might be when you are looking for a new job, it might just be on some Wednesday morning and you look at yourself in the mirror and think “How do I want to present myself today?”

The moments of clarity are a combination of many things, it’s about your personal attitudes towards life, work, being a woman, being a leader …it’s all about defining who you are and your personal brand.

When you are a leader your personal brand sets the tone and gives examples to your kids, spouses, friends, colleagues, bosses, and your teams of how you want to be perceived better yet, it’s the template you want emulated.

Leaders of both sexes talk about the attitudes, personalities and style, yes, the style of our team. We discuss these things in interesting ways and the terms that come from it are about more than comments on someone’s clothing - they are statements about your ambition. Are they a fit, do they want to be taken seriously? Are they 100% in it, are they in it for the long haul? We don’t talk about clothes we talk about goals.

 Join the Women Shaping Business Linkedin Group, click the banner below.


As most of you already know how you present yourself isn’t just about clothing, hair, or accessories, it is also about presenting yourself with clarity , earnestness and confidence. Come to work every day as fresh as you can, come as prepared as you can and come as focused as you can.

"Someone who is confident, prepared and focused carries a freshness and style all their own."

Here are three things to consider when you’re getting dressed in the morning

  1. If you can rock the outfit in the clubs, you shouldn’t be rocking it at work… unless your work is at the clubs of course.  This is a general rule of thumb that I follow and I’ve coached others to follow
  2. Be prepared for the day.  Have your “To Do’s” mapped out and plan what are the high priority items you want to make sure you get done for the day.  It could be as simple as being on time for meetings, following up on messages from phone calls, emails, linkedin or twitter.  Plan to be present in all your interactions  for the day by remembering people’s names, responding appropriately on cues, show that you’re interested in what others are saying, most importantly make sure that you’re  engaged in conversations that will highlight your skills and competencies. 
  3. Finally, follow through on your commitments and if you going to miss a deadline, communicate early your sincere apologies and set a new delivery date soon after.

I’m so happy to be sharing my experiences with everyone and I’m most happy to be doing so with Alex Levey and the Randstad Marketing team on a new podcast, titled Women Shaping Business.

You can check out that podcast here and come back for more from me next week where we chat about how the work world has changed over the past 10-years.

A little bit about me, I’m a senior executive in human resources,  I believe I’ve seen it all over the past 20+ years but I’m sure I can still be surprised! I’m also a proud Jamaican born woman who is a single mother with a beautiful teenage daughter, so I’m certain I will connect with a lot of you out there.

What questions do you want answered? What topics should we explore? You can share them with me by emailing, social@randstad.ca.

You can learn more about Randstad and the Women Shaping Business program on the WSB Linkedin group, register here today.

That’s all for now, thank your for reading! If you missed Monday's post, read about what Alex Levey loves working with nerds, here.

Before you go; think about this - what are ways your life has changed at work, how are things better, how are things worse? Let me know in the comments section or on Twitter @RandstadCanada.


I work with nerds and that's a great thing

Posted by Alexandra Levey on Mon, Sep 22, 2014 @ 01:27 PM

I work with nerds and that’s a good thing

Alex LeveyBy Alex Levey, marketing coordinator, Randstad Canada

Almost two years ago I started working with Randstad, I’ve loved it, it has given me the chance to grow as a marketer and a woman in business - I also get to work with the biggest bunch of nerds I’ve ever met.

I mean this as a term of endearment, honestly, my team is great - they work in digital marketing, they get a lot done - but I work with a bunch of guys and yes, they are nerds, unabashedly so.

I’m talking about this because it isn’t a negative, it could be so much worse. I work in a great environment and coming to work is a positive experience for me.

We’ve all heard stories about how things used to be, the Mad Men era, but workplace harassment is more pernicious than and grating than pat on  the bum from a boss - although if that happened it would be a horrifying violation - that’s something I have absolutely no fear of happening to me at work.

But it does happen to people, it happens to personal assistants of members of parliament, it happens at restaurants and it surely happens in executive offices to leaders even to powerful accomplished women - in cat calls, leering eyes and lecherous comments.



Last year at Randstad’s Women Shaping Business event in Toronto, I heard from Kirstine Stewart the executive in charge of Twitter Canada and the former head of CBC Canada.

The attitudes that she had to confront in board rooms, on television and in the media as a result of her being a woman blew me away.

Check out our new podcast below:

Think about this, you have a powerful female leader, in her prime talking about the syndication and development of a national publicly funded media conglomerate and news writers talked about her shoes and hair. Shoes and hair, not the jobs and direction of a media institution that touches the lives of every Canadian.

So I work with nerds, I leave work some days and at 5:30 p.m. the guys might be recreating the fight scene from Star Wars Episode 3, I might hear;

“I was your brother! You were supposed to bring balance to the force! ... wookie sounds, Lightsaber noises ...”

But what I don’t hear is untoward comments about my dress, or body.

I’m respected, when I tell them to get something done they do it - sure I don’t get all of their jokes about Star Trek (I get about half of them), but when I hold a meeting they get into gear and do what I ask of them. Work place equality is a reality for many but there is still work to do.

Helping do that work and keep this conversation going is a new Linkedin group aptly named Women Shaping Business. You can register for it here today.

I’m also doing interviews and my nerdy team is producing a weekly podcast on the topics that mean so much to so many.

This week’s podcast is about the impact that appearance has on professional advancement. We conduct research annually gauging the perceptions and attitudes of female executives and over 90% of those polled said that appearance plays a huge part of getting ahead.

On this weeks podcast I speak with the senior vice president of human resources for Randstad Canada, Faith Tull. She’s awesome, we’ll be sharing the inaugural podcast on Wednesday, I can’t wait for you all to hear it.

If you have any topics you want covered, or have any questions about working with a team of guys or in the world of work in general you can contact me at social@randstad.ca. You can also reach out to me on Twitter @RandstadCanada.

Next week we’ll be speaking about how the world of work has changed over the past 10-years I hope you come back for more. 

Thank you and have a great week! 

Learn more about all of this on these links; www.womenshapingbusiness.ca, here is a Globe and Mail article about the "Beauty Premium" that exists. 

Read our next Women Shaping Business blog post, by Faith Tull, titled Let's Talk About Dress, here. 




Tags: Alexandra Levey, Women Shaping Business

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