I work with nerds and that’s a good thing
By 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Why the Apple 6, and the Apple Watch Matter for Employment
Whether you ride technological trends like a surfer hitting the next biggest wave, or just need a device to call your mum the true impacts of gadgets and jewellery like Apple’s new accessories is made of innovation and jobs.
The now discontinued iPod Classic, back in its 5 gig, 1,000 song days revolutionized the MP3 player market; it positioned Apple to dominate a market segment and prepared us for the ubiquity of smartphones.
Today we have IOS, Android, Pebble, Chrome, yes, we’ve got AppleOS and Windows as well, but there are literally hundreds of other OS’s kicking around. Each with its speciality, each with its niche as well as advantages and disadvantages – but behind each of those core systems is either a programmer or a team of programmers building this base system on which other tools are built.
The operating systems running these new phones are our way to access the information technology infrastructure of the future. Infrastructure governments are building, that employ millions of people. Smart phones have incentivized the advancement of digital communications networks, think broadband, thing 4G, what's next? What's faster, who is going to build it in your community?
Cellphone speed drives infrastructure development
This speed is building a democratization of the digital entertainment market. Whether it is through your phone, or through your computer we’re watching more media on the small screen than the TV.
That means that more companies are playing roles in the development maintenance and curation of entertainment content - you have more say.
Hidden again behind those systems is and algorithms that choose our Netflix queue for us are again more developments and systems analysts, behavioural psychologists and more.
With Apple Pay, or Google Wallet, even Pay Pal, or Square, or Shopify’s Point of Sale System, there is another layer of digital democratization of the tools of retail trade. You cash register is an iPad with a little box attached to it, or a wire running into a computer into a WiFi connected cash tray that tracks right back into your business account.
Yes, these devices are flashy, yes they are expensive, but what they are supporting and what the consumer culture around them supports are the knowledge jobs of the future and the further investment in future disruptive technologies that will continue to dramatically change the way businesses do business.
In a world where cars drive themselves and we track out biometrics with the shirts on our back what side of the employment picture are you on? Are you afraid of the looming technological singularity or are you seeing ways to take further advantage of it?
I want to hear what you think, take this short survey and tell me if you are afraid of losing your job to the technology of the future.
Heart over reason: Canadians value relationships and intuition when it comes to managing their careers.
As part of its Find a job that fits you campaign, leading up to the annual National Career Day, Randstad Canada created an online survey on career management and personal branding.
Over 500 respondents answered, and here are the main findings!
Is Edmonton going to surpass Calgary's growth?
Over the past few months, we've covered a lot about Calgary's booming employee market.
But a recent article in the Calgary herald put focus Alberta's more Northern population centre, Edmonton.
"There are 877,926 Edmontonians, according to the city’s 2014 census released Friday. While that remains a far cry from Calgary’s nearly 1.2 million, the capital’s two-year growth rate of 7.4 per cent is greater than Stampede City’s 6.7 per cent."
The truth of the matter is both cities are growing at an incredbile rate.
Compared to the rest of Canada, Calgary and Edmonton are on growth spurts, 50,000 or 80,000 new residents a year is amazing - Ottawa has a growth rate of about 2 %, meaning Calgary and Edmonton are tripling or quadrupling Ottawa's population growth
While Calgary has seen amazing growth it isn't an inexpensive place to live. Property values in Calgary have risen over the years and while the cost of a home in Calgary is still lower than Toronto or Vancouver, Edmonton is an easier market to enter for new job hunters looking to work in the west.
A house in Edmonton could cost you almost $100,000 less than in Calgary. While salaries in Edmonton are generally comparable to those in Edmonton.
Regardless of the costs of housing in Calgary it does have one thing on Edmonton in the winter it is more than 5 degrees warmer than its more Northern cousin.
To date, Calgary has the hottest job market in Canada - competition for professionals is high.
Recruting in both markets has its opportunities and challenges. If you are looking for team members in either city, we can help you find leading talent.
Learn more about recruiting in this important market, find out how to compete against Alberta's biggest players and recruit the right people for your team on the Calgary Recruitment Webinar, Recruiting Calgary's Most Wanted.
Today Randstad released data from a survey that shows Canadian's fear that they'll lose their jobs to automation, computerization and algorithms.
Whether you work in IT, mining, warehousing or logistics or even law, medicine and journalism the fear of losing your job to oncoming technologies is real, if not rational and well founded in fact.
The release states that 32 % of Canadians fear losing their jobs to technology in coming years. Read more here.
Labour has constantly been displaced by advances in labour saving technologies. The first shovel change the way we dug holes, the first backhoe revolutionized ditches and new drilling technologies have replaced dynamite as a way to dig tunnels.
The same has happened in farmers’ fields, factories, call centers and head offices. Advances in technology and the streamlining of work has changed labour dynamics and not always in ways that on the face value have a general benefit to society.
Jobs have shifted from manual production to automation and the machine learning and programming that allow one complex set of machines to do the work of 100 people on a factory floor. It may still take a team of engineers to make those machines work, but overall it means fewer jobs on the factory floor, but may be not overall.
Technicians will still need to work on the machines, as production floors get larger and produce more product there will a requirement for increased infrastructure supporting these shipping and production networks to make that happen. In the coming years we will all compete for jobs not just against one another, but technology and advancement itself.
How can employees stay ahead of the curve? Here are 3 tips to avoid being made redundant by new technologies.
1. Take advantage of internal and external training programs: If your workplace is offering advance training, or certifications in your line of work, volunteer for them. Federal and local government programs are available for funding advanced training; research what your workplace is offering and apply or ask for the opportunity.
2. Stay engaged in industry innovations: Whether it is through reading a trade publication, or attending industry conferences you can see what innovations are on the rise. This can help you direct what training or career shifts you may need to address in the future.
3. Be first to introduce new tools, systems or processes: If you know about innovations first, you can introduce them to your organization. Taking advantage of innovations can put you in a leadership position, bring added value to your work help maintain your role’s security.
If you want to read more about this, or get into contact with Randstad Canada’s media team for comment, visit, our news section here.
How are you staying ahead of the curve, let us on know Twitter @RandstadCanada
Are you looking for a new opportunity? Join us on National Career Day at anyone of our branches across the country. Thousands of jobs are available, get interviewed in branches on September 10, 2014.
Whether it was your years of arriving by school bus to the playground and with the ringing of a bell at 8:30 a.m. or your hard work on arts and crafts (with an autonomy unforeseen in high school) your years in elementary school were well served.
It taught you the finer points of dress, the value of a good packed lunch and these five imporant things that you use to this day:
Getting up in the morning
Getting up in the morning is a big deal, sometimes it makes all of the difference in your career.
The job you do today is, and the one you look for on your job search is what you’ve trained for but if you can't get up and ready in the morning all is for not. Think about what you learned by getting up out of bed, taking off your Star Wars PJs and going off to elementary school.
You learned how to wake up! You got out of the house without a $5 a day coffee habit, in some cases you even packed your own lunch.
For those who are fortunate enough, elementary school involves a five to fifteen minute walk to school, typically on side streets with friends, discussing Pokemon or Poggs at some length. Your commute can be long and hard and that grind gets to you - the daily commute teaches the value of proximity.
This is repeated on the way home.
For others, we waited for a bus. It was crowded, bumpy, sometimes it smelled bad, but you get where you are going and if you are lucky you’ve got a friend with you.
In cities not just in Canada, but across the industrialized world, the transit experience is not unlike a grade five school bus and you learned how to do it as a child.
Are you looking for help on your career path?
In elementary school we get our first hands at presentations. I’m still sore about my grade five presentation on the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s getting short shrift to a contemporary’s piece on Highland Dancing. Sure, my 42 minute presentation included liberal portions of MLK’s I Have A Dream, and no I didn’t dance during my presentation but I think I deserved an A+, I had speaking notes!
I lost marks for going over time you see. This is a skill we all need to develop. It takes time and practice to prepare for speaking to a group, even when you think you know the topic remembering to take your time to really practice and prepare is important.
Group work. Fun!
Later in grade six or seven, you are introduced to group work – which will in later years becomes your job and career.
You are given a project, with some limited direction and as a team you are to construct a presentation on a world event. You learn how to delegate tasks, how to follow up with your co-workers and in some cases drag them through the finish line to ensure you get a good grade.
These little negotiations that are made on these projects prepare you for the team work we do everyday in the professional world.
Of course it doesn’t end there, you then get asked, “Why do you want to be when you grow up?” a lot of people are still asking that.
If you aren’t completely sure, or you want a little help later in the game finding your career path, take our personal branding survey and enter to win a $300 VISA gift card. The survey will teach you a lot about how to market yourself and who to reach out to for career guidance.
Here are three more keys to building a positive, engaged personal brand. Read the first two and the introduction to this piece, in Fostering your "employee brand": Part 1.
3. Get the message out
The single most important way of developing your brand is to be seen in person (in a positive light of course). If you are a jobseeker, networking is an important way to sell yourself, but for those currently employed, internal networking is just as important. Make going out and meeting the rest of the business an objective in itself.
Your network of friends, colleagues, clients, and customers are the most important marketing vehicle you've got; try to continually find ways to nurture your network of colleagues. What they say about you and your contributions is what the market will ultimately gauge as the value of your brand.
Additionally, you can set yourself apart by regularly contributing and providing added value on sites such as LinkedIn, writing blogs, using Twitter. Your aim is to be known in a positive light as an expert on a particular topic. It’s not about being online 24/7 for the sake of it; it’s about adding value to others through all of your communications.
Have you built your personal brand? Do you have your career path mapped out? Answer these questions and more, in our career path survey and be entered to win 1 of 11 cash prizes. Enter our survey here now.
4. Radiate power and leadership
One of the things that attracts us to certain brands is the power they project. It's no different in the workplace. If, for example, your colleagues are having a hard time organizing productive meetings, volunteer to write the agenda for the next meeting. You'll not only be contributing to the team, but you’ll have the opportunity to determine what will go on and off the agenda. Most importantly, remember that power is largely a matter of perception. If you want people to see you as a powerful brand, you must act like a credible leader.
5. Be consistent
Brand building doesn’t happen overnight and it needs to be consistent. When you're promoting your brand, remember that everything you do - and everything you choose not to do - communicates the value and character of your brand. Everything from the way you handle phone conversations and emails to the way you conduct business in a meeting. It’s all part of a larger message that you are sending about your brand.
Ultimately, you are in charge of your brand and there is no single path to success. And while there is no one right way to create and promote your individual brand, these tips will set you on the right path to becoming more attractive to leading employers who are eager to find and retain not just great candidates, but also inspirational employees, that they will be clamouring to work with.
Have you built your personal brand? Your career path is integral to building your personal brand. Take our survey, learn about yourself and begin to build your personal brand. Take our career path survey and be entered to win 1 of 11 cash prizes. Take our survey here now.
Fostering your “employee brand”: Part 1
Starting today you are a brand.
Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We all have a chance to stand out - to learn, and to improve our skills - everyone has a chance to better their individual “brand”. It's time to take a lesson from the big brands, in how to market ourselves effectively.
To be specific, your personal brand is the collection of values, experiences and associations that people attach to you. In short, it’s what peers and associates think about when they hear your name mentioned. It is what they'll say about you if they are called on a reference check.
We are all individuals, but unless we have a positive personal brand we will be invisible both to existing colleagues and to search executives, looking for the next bright star to fill a vacancy. We have to showcase what makes us special. What are we famous for now? What do we want to be famous for in the future?
Having a positive personal brand is also important to your team, your department and the wider organization. You are the figurehead, the leader, and the main representative to the rest of the business. It is about your ability to build a personal brand which transcends your current job title and makes you an attractive prospect for internal promotion and to external companies.
So how can you develop the kind of personal brand that leading employers want to recruit and retain? Here are some useful tips:
1. Research your brand and determine what makes you different
Start by figuring out what your brand currently is, and where it needs to be. Ask yourself: “What kind of employee am I?” and “What do I want to be known for?”
Identify the qualities or characteristics that separate you from your competitors -- or your colleagues. What have you done lately -- this week -- to make yourself stand out? What would your past or present colleagues or customers say is your greatest and clearest strength?
Start thinking like a brand manager, ask yourself: What is it that my product or service does that makes it different? Take the time to write down your answer. And then take the time to read it.
2. Enhance your brand
There's no limit to the ways you can go about enhancing your brand. Sign up for an extra project within your organization, just to introduce yourself to new colleagues and showcase your skills -- or work on new ones. Or, take on a freelance project that gets you in touch with a totally novel group of people. If you can get them singing your praises, they'll help spread the word about what a remarkable contributor you are.
Try teaching a class at a community college, or in your own company. Try contributing a column or an opinion piece to your local newspaper or try to get yourself on a panel discussion at a conference or sign up to make a presentation at a workshop. You’ll get credit for being an expert, you increase your standing as a professional, and you increase the likelihood that people will come back to you.
Part two will be released next Monday, in the mean time, take our survey and enter our personal branding survey.
A couple of weeks ago we published data from our recent Workmonitor Survey, which looked at employee loyalty and what employees would leave their current positions for.
What we found was that Canadians, while content in their current jobs, would overwhelmingly leave their jobs for more money or for better opportunities for advancement.
In an interview with the Canadian Press, Randstad Canada’s Manager of Human Resources, Shannon Young said something prescient that every manager should read.
"Don't wait until people leave to find out that they wanted to be a manager," she said.
"Have conversations early and often with your people, especially key people, to .... figure out what they want and then make sure they know that you're committed to help them get there."
You don’t know if you don’t ask. You can’t expect every employee to be forward about what they want and just because someone doesn’t ask doesn’t mean they aren’t perfect for the job or for the training opportunity.
Testing, training, discussions and development plans will build your teams up, increase their engagement and lessen the likelihood that they’ll leave you for a competitor.
Employer loyalty is not dead, it is sleeping
Retention is just as important as recruitment and most of the time discussions are free.
In our Randstad Award research we found that while compensation and benefits are there primary attractor for the majority of Canadians surveyed, work life balance and training opportunities were an important part of employer attractiveness and thereby retention.
With employee engagement, the question in many cases isn’t whether your teams are engaged at work, but whether the company is engaging the employees.
We’re told so often that our work should be about more than a paycheck – but there needs to a reciprocity to make the statement true.
Training, personal development and advancement opportunities is that reciprocity.
You can learn more about employee engagement by follow us on Twitter @RandstadCanada
If you are looking for help finding great people, or need advice on how to retain them contact Randstad Canada today.
Advantage #1: Receptionists Guard Your Staff
Time is money so they say, this means you have to be incredibly picky about who gets your ear. With only a few productive hours in a day, you and your employees can’t afford to have your schedules jam-packed by people, or other businesses that don't align with your current priorities.This is where a highly trained receptionist with strong communications skills comes into play. They are your “gatekeeper”, but a knowledgeable receptionist understands that it will take more than simply pointing to the door to get rid of time-wasters. He or she will also be able to understand how to firmly – but politely – deal with challenging personalities. It’s definitely a talent, and it’s one of the reasons that “must excel at people skills” is often part of the description on postings for receptionist jobs.
Advantage #2: Receptionists Can Help Manage a Team
Often, the receptionist is more than merely the point person for those who walk into a company. He or she is also the head of a team of administrators. In this type of leadership position, receptionists can ensure that office politics never get in the way of a smooth flow of operations.
In addition to personality management, receptions can take on administrative tasks and vendor management - helping teams coordinate mailing, travel or even event management. It is all dependant on the skills your receptionist has and how much they know about your company and processes.
Advantage #3: Receptionists Provide a Face for the Company
Your brand's success depends on individual touch points from your team to the public and your clients. A great receptionist can embody your brand and deliver an engaging and informative introduction to your company, office, or team.
Even if you have been successful for years without a receptionist, it may be time to give a second thought to hiring someone to perform this position.
If you are looking for a new receptionist or any administrative support team members, contact Randstad Canada at anytime. Learn more about our recruitment services and apply to positions here today.