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We talked a bit last time about the struggles of the tech industry to be inclusive when it comes to building out their teams with women and minorities. Whether due to hiring based on the "best fit" for a company's culture or a lack of effort to change hiring methods, minority and female employees are severely underrepresented. Black and Latino workers make up only 5% of the tech workforce, and women comprise only 24%.

Awareness of the issue should bring change to the industry, but companies must first trudge through acknowledgment of their unconscious bias.

How can changes be made in an industry that has a well-established homogeneous history? There are ways!

What can be done about it from the candidate side?

Hold companies accountable. Ask them about their diversity efforts, question them on their hiring practices, and demand that the process of hiring for "company culture" is updated to actually reflect modern culture.

Don't assume. Just because an employer appears to be a boys club doesn't mean they aren't trying to expand their team on the diversity front. Show them that any preconceived notions about the capabilities of a minority in this field are wrong, and that they'd be doing themselves a great disservice to turn you away.

What can companies do?

Establish blind hiring practices. Have the names removed from job applications – if you don't have a system capable of this, incorporate a step before the hiring manager where someone fields the responses and removes names before passing on.

Address implicit bias head on. Larger companies have either been developing their own bias-busting training or bringing in outsiders to conduct workshops and attack implicit bias head on. Many people don't believe themselves to be biased until training opens their eyes to how ingrained it is already. Exposing the abundance of bias is the first step towards remedying an industry-wide problem.

Expand your recruitment efforts. When companies come to college campuses to recruit, for example, Hispanic and black candidates are more likely to attend a workshop for resume writing or interview preparation than they are to show up for an information session. Tailor your search process to be inclusive of all culture's professional tendencies and you might not miss out on your next great employee.

Make it a priority. The reasoning behind many managers lack of initiative in increasing diversity is simple: 41% say they don't have the time. Or, rather, they can't make the time. Big change won't happen overnight, so make efforts to put diversity at the top of the To Do pile, or schedule in some planning.

Look at the research. Ethically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to earn above-average revenue, and gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to do so. A team that is diverse brings together a different set of skills, perspectives, outlooks, and problem solving.

An industry so focused on innovation should push for fresh ideas and pay attention to the creative thinking that can be done by a team who doesn't bring the same ideas and life experiences to the table. Diversifying tech will only continue to bring out the best in everyone.

https://www.bustle.com/p/men-named-john-outnumber-women-in-positions-of-power-across-multiple-fields-according-to-analysis-from-the-new-york-times-8901521

https://www.bustle.com/p/men-are-more-likely-to-attribute-biological-differences-to-womens-abilities-in-the-workplace-according-to-a-recent-study-7785183

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/04/24/upshot/women-and-men-named-john.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fbusiness&auth=login-smartlock&mtrref=undefined

https://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/why-cant-silicon-valley-solve-its-diversity-problem

https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/22/why-achieving-diversity-in-tech-requires-firing-the-industrys-cultural-fit-mentality/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ellenhuet/2015/11/02/rise-of-the-bias-busters-how-unconscious-bias-became-silicon-valleys-newest-target/#3fe6bb3319b5

http://bigthink.com/brandon-weber/the-glass-ceiling-redux-how-the-name-john-is-sometimes-the-only-ticket-you-need

https://www.wired.com/story/computer-science-graduates-diversity/

https://resources.workable.com/blog/diversity-in-the-workplace

Posted: 5/15/2018 1:31:07 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


You're sneaking around,you're up late at night, and there's a guilty look in your eyes. You've got a big secret: you're looking for a new job.

No need to be ashamed – fifty percent of adults say they'd consider looking for a new job this year. The median number of years that wage and salary workers have remained at their current employer is currently only 4.6 years, so at any given time, you're likely not alone in your endeavor. Job searching while you have a job can feel deceitful, but it has to happen. The trick is to keep your search under wraps as much as possible. Need some tips? We can help.

stealth-job-search

Don't tell anyone. No, seriously. 

The title of this article includes the word "stealth," right? Stealth means cautious and quiet, so don't tell anyone or you risk your plans being heard by the wrong person. All it takes is your best work friend to be overheard whispering about it in the break room, and then everybody knows what you're up to.

This also means making sure your prospective employers know you're trying to find a new job under the radar. Be sure to tell them your current manager doesn't know you're considering a job change, and ask that they refrain from contacting them for the time being. If you're getting close to an offer, then that's time to give your manager a heads up, if you're hoping for their reference comments.

Update LinkedIn

First of all, make sure you've got your privacy settings in the right place - you don't want any updates made to your LinkedIn profile to pop up as recent news to, say, your boss. Once you know you won't be seen, go ahead and update your resume, share some articles related to your field, contact others who work at companies of interest, get involved in group discussions, and ask some old colleagues to endorse you for skills. You want to be improving your status as an expert in your industry without a job search being obvious.

Network quietly

It might be shocking to hear that over 85%(!) of all jobs are filled via networking, according to a 2016 study. Check out any upcoming conferences and events and when you meet someone who might help you take the next step, don't immediately tell them you're looking for a new job. Mention that you'd love to hear more about what they do, or ask how they got into the position they have. If you get the opportunity to develop the connection with this person later on, it's ok to mention that you're looking to further your career.

Keep working.

Just because you've mentally checked out of this job doesn't mean you can quit working before you actually quit. Stay on top of your workload, keep the job search out of the office, and consider now a time to shine at your current job. This is probably particularly difficult, since you have already decided you don't want this job anymore, but think of what a glowing review could do to your salary negotiations at a new job.

When it comes to taking the leap to the next position in your career, it can be a challenge to slip under the radar. Take these tips to heart the next time you find yourself with one foot out the door.

Posted: 4/25/2018 11:22:19 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


It can be a real challenge to wake up every morning and head to a job that is unsatisfying, where you feel less than appreciated, and are either overworked, underpaid, or both. Sure, many of us suffered these same feelings at our high school job, but now we're adults, right?! Isn't this the time we're supposed to be doing meaningful work we actually like?

Sit back and remember the rosy-hazed days when you first started at your current job: you were excited for something new, you had a better paycheck than your last position, you were a new voice in the crowd and people listened, and you went home feeling refreshed and revitalized. If you long for those days again, it isn't too late to save yourself from the downward spiral of burnout.

employee_burnout2.jpg

With employee engagement considered the biggest factor in job satisfaction, it's no surprise that companies who don't have a handle on it are seeing high turnover rates. Burnout is real, but it can either be seen as a hurdle or an exit sign. It's not always easy to navigate, so we're here to help.

1) Don't work overtime.

Unless you have a job where overtime is paid, don't spend any more time than you must in a place that's draining you of all motivation. If "everybody works more than 40 hours," too bad. Tell your boss you need to get a fresh outlook on things and that you hope cutting work out when it isn't necessary will help you stay focused when you're in the office.

2) Do some serious reflection.

Put some thought into what exactly has changed to make you feel burned out. Is it a problem with your boss's management style, or something that is so engrained in the company that it's unlikely to change? Or is it something a little more fixable, like a too-heavy workload, too many meetings, or catching up a new employee?

3) Talk to others.

Don't accelerate a toxic work environment by constantly airing grievances, but sniff around a little and see if maybe you aren't alone. Hearing it from others can validate your concerns and also help all of you collectively address management.

4) Be honest about all those meetings.

If you boil it down, there are very often two main types of employees: managers who scatter meetings, phone calls, administrative tasks and directives throughout their day, and creatives who require large chunks of uninterrupted time. When these two styles overlap, there is a huge disconnect, with the manager's plan usually trumping that of their team. Be honest with your supervisor – tell them that meetings put a block in the middle of your creative thinking, or that you often feel like a meeting could have been covered in an email. There's a good chance a manager just doesn't understand how detrimental a meeting can be to your creative process, so tell them!

5) Ask for a raise.

What's better, silently resenting your company for not (monetarily) appreciating you, OR asking for a raise and being pleasantly surprised? If they can't accommodate your salary increase, ask for more days off. A company will (or should) be interested in retaining employees above all else, so there may be some wiggle room in your current benefits.

6) Be clear about your goals at the company.

It's easy to assume your manager knows you plan to climb the ladder, but be crystal clear. If you have goals at the company that are known, management can better help you get there, and if you're left unsatisfied than at least feel good about the fact that you fought for yourself.

Don't get discouraged! Burnout happens to almost everyone, and with the right tools, you can better advocate for your professional self and thrive in an environment that works for you.

Posted: 4/2/2018 10:09:12 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


Picture this: you're at work. You look at the clock. Ten minutes until a meeting, and you think, Ugh, another meeting. Why do we even have these? They're such a waste of time. Walk into the meeting room, politely smile at a few colleagues, prepare to take some notes, and before you know it – "Chris, what do you think about that?" 

Cripes, you weren't even listening.

You answer the question, grab some coffee before heading back to your desk to move along with your day and again– "Hey, did you have a chance to finish up that project?"

Whoops, you completely forgot about that.

You stay until 6 because you got in a few minutes late and the office is still full, head home a to leftover dinner and sit and fondly remember days where you were practically running those meetings. You used to think this job was going somewhere, used to feel like you were conquering projects and shining in the eyes of your boss, but those days are long gone. On top of it all, you think to yourself, I don't make enough money for this. 

employee_burnout

Employee burnout is a real thing, and nearly half of HR leaders in the U.S. think it's the reason for almost half (46%) of annual workforce turnover. With such an obvious problem, you'd think the focus would now be on employee retention, but you'd be wrong – 97% of HR leaders planned to increase their investment in recruiting technology by 2020.

This begs the question, Is employee burnout worth addressing, or is it inevitable?

If your company employs more than a single person who is burned out, it is absolutely 100% worth addressing. In almost every case of employee burnout, it is caused by an issue with the company and not the person. So, how can you fix it?

1. Talk to your employees.

Ask them what's working for them, what isn't. If you only discuss this once a year, up the frequency and meet monthly or quarterly. Go in with an open mind and don't take anything they say personally. Remember – this is the feedback you need to make your company a better place to work

2. Pay attention to workloads.

Unloading the most work onto the most capable is, in theory, a good and reliable tactic, but in practice you're smothering the best and brightest with a heavier workload and letting the less talented skate by. Take a deeper look at who is responsible for what, keeping workloads as even as possible. There is a difference between a highly skilled overworked employee and and under-skilled and inefficient one, but the difference is small. Let your proficient team members shine and don't turn a blind eye to those who struggle from the beginning.

3. Cut down on the meetings.

Creative people only have so much juice to run on in a single day. Do you really want them to waste any of it talking to you about a schedule or answering questions about something? If you have a creative team, there's a good chance they only benefit from certain meetings– others are situations that could be solved with an email (if you see one of these mugs in your office, take a hint). Don't cut out all face-to-face chats with your people, but try not to go crazy on the conference room time. For many, meetings throw a block right in the middle of a creative and productive day.

4. Stop emailing on weekends.

You probably don't do this, right? You're in the smaller percentage of the country? Unlikely, since over half of adults in the U.S. say monitoring emails outside of the workplace is routine, with almost 70 percent of employees under 30 saying it isn't a problem. But here's the thing: it IS. In one Fortune 500 company, they found that for every hour a superior worked outside of work hours, their team worked an average of 20 minutes away from the office. So, even if you expect an email to go unanswered until Monday morning, your employees assume otherwise.

Overworked, poorly compensated employees can only go so far at a company. Extend the life of your team and nip these problems (company-wide) in the bud. Your business's future success depends on it.

Posted: 3/14/2018 12:21:57 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


Back when we were first starting out, we remember being the shoulder to lean on when an interview didn't go well. "I answered a question terribly," or "How was I supposed to know how to do [x, y, z]?" were common concerns, and we always remember thinking: they have it so easy. All they had to do was sell themselves while we creative types had to work so hard to be wanted. You can't just sell yourself in an interview, you also have to convince someone that your work and your process is worth hiring as well. As much as we'd all love to insist on our talents and have them talk to us and be reminded of the L'Oreal slogan ("because you're worth it"), we have to work a little more than others to get what we want. Selling yourself along with your skills is a fine art, one that demands some practice.

portfolio_presentation

So we have some tips to help you put your best portfolio foot forward.

1) Treat it like an actual project.

A portfolio involves pieces of information and visual components that need to be organized, just like any of your other projects. Remember that pieces compete or shine based on adjacent work, and pay attention to layout, color, thematic relationships, type of work, and chronology. There is a chance you will be asked to leave your portfolio if the hiring manager lacks sufficient time to review in person, and a portfolio should be self explanatory.

2) Discuss your role.

Unless you are a one-man design machine, it's likely you have some work included that involved a larger team. There's no shame in being one chef in the kitchen, but be prepared to talk up your role – were you part of the planning or execution? Did you participate in brainstorming sessions or tweak the final project? A team player is just as valuable as a lone wolf, so don't feel like your backseat on a project isn't worth discussing.

3) Read the room.

If you're being asked a lot about your process, show some sketches (prepared separately, or as part of your portfolio). Fielding questions about your production skills? Be sure to highlight the project that you had a hand in getting printed. Each hiring manager will be searching for different qualities in an employee, so make sure you cater your portfolio presentation to the audience, showing them exactly what they're looking for.

4) Speak up.

Prepare some words to say about projects in your portfolio, don't wait for questions to be asked or comments made. What you're saying is just as important as how you're saying it, so be confident, clear, and concise. And don't be afraid to be a little self-critical. Obviously avoid showing anything you aren't proud of, but demonstrating that you know the difference between great work and good work is useful for a hiring manager to see.

5) Let your personality shine.

Inject some of your personal humor into the presentation – your future coworkers aren't working with your portfolio, they're working with YOU. Show a bit of yourself and give them an idea of what you would bring to the team.

With these ideas under your belt, your portfolio presentation should go swimmingly. Happy job hunting!

Posted: 2/21/2018 1:29:32 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments